Qué es la energía y qué tipo debiéramos usar

De acuerdo a los datos entregados recientemente por Google, uno de los términos más buscados por los Chilenos durante el 2015 fue Qué es la energía. Encontrar la respuesta a esta pregunta no es difícil, una simple búsqueda en internet arrojará resultados que indican que en física la energía es la capacidad de desarrollar un trabajo, podemos hablar también de tipos de energía, como la potencial y la cinética, además de unidades de medida en diversos sistemas…

Pero a estas alturas, no debiéramos preocuparnos más bien sobre tipos de energía? Y con esto llegamos a otra acepción sobre qué es la energía, y en este caso podemos referirnos a la acepción en términos económicos- tecnológicos y podemos referirnos a la energía asociándola con un recurso natural que permite ser utilizado para poder extraerla (energía), o transformarla y así darle un uso económico.

Es en esta última acepción en la que queremos poner especial énfasis. No todos los recursos naturales producen energía de igual forma y todos tienen externalidad asociadas que impactan a la sociedad y al medio ambiente de diferentes formas.

Es probable que para todos sea bastante obvio que los combustibles fósiles (petróleo, carbón, gas) han contribuido al calentamiento global de tipo antropogénico (causado por el hombre). Lo que no todos tienen claro es la delicada situación en que nos encontramos hoy.

La opinión científica concuerda en que no podremos quemar todas las reservas que posee el planeta de combustibles fósiles si queremos vivir en un planeta con un clima relativamente estable. La emisión de gases de efecto invernadero y su concentración en la atmosfera (ppm) esta intimidante ligada con el calentamiento del planeta.

Ha sido estimado que una concentración de 350ppm nos permitirá continuar viviendo con la temperatura en que la civilización humana ha prosperado. Por el contrario, una concentración mayor de estos gases, provocara alzas en las temperaturas globales. Hoy la concentración supera las 400ppm y la tierra se ha calentado alrededor de 1 grado centígrado.

Entonces, para continuar viviendo en un planeta con una temperatura y un medio ambiente benéfico para los humanos, con ciclos de lluvias, sequias y tormentas conocidos, debemos evitar continuar con la quema y uso de combustibles fósiles.

Si los combustibles fósiles son quitados de la ecuación, quedamos con varias opciones para generar electricidad, entre las que destaca la energía solar, geotérmica y la eólica. Suplir la demanda actual de electricidad requiere construir números paneles solares y turbinas eólicas, además de la puesta en marcha de políticas públicas que de verdad incentiven el crecimiento de estas tecnologías.

En cuanto al transporte, es necesario continuar promoviendo el uso del transporte público de calidad, caminar o andar bicicleta, además de la transición a vehículos eléctricos, recordando que la electricidad debiera ser producida sin combustibles fósiles.

Existen alternativas para generar energía y electricidad con fuentes alternativas a los combustibles fósiles. Pero un cambio hacia una sociedad humana realmente sustentable, que no requiera más de un planeta para sobrevivir, requiere además un cambio de mentalidad. El consumismo exacerbado y la cultura de la basura solo ayudan a generar más emisiones en cosas que realmente no necesitamos, además de contribuir al ciclo de la deuda eterna. Intentemos reflexionar y decidir qué camino queremos seguir.

8 Comments

  1. Thomas King

    As we edge our way ever closer to that “most” wonderful time of the year a focus upon superlatives and Christmas seems suitably relevant a festive affair valid of inspection and reflection. It is typically the busiest occasion per annum, the costliest jubilee without rival and the dirtiest day of consumptive deification par excellence. Wait, i hear you ask in a tone awash in anguish, was the last applied adjective accordingly appropriate? No your ears have not deceived you and i feel not the slightest guilt when I reply reassured in the self assuredness of my own moral principles. My statement will not be retracted for your merry piece of minds. For in spite of all its adornments, trimmings and bountiful bearings good environmental tidings Christmas time doth not thou bringeth. Cherry and emotionally stirred we may be by the opulence of the glorious Gala of pageantry and pomp lamentably this bouyant day of fetes and festive fornications returns little joy back to a miserably materially stripped Mother Nature. On the ignoble scales of resource pilfering few can contest the monopoly which the Silly Season has over mankind. Taking possession of our mental faculties like the tides and the moon. Like some form of lycanthropy transforming us into cadeaux seeking mall marching rampaging betes, savages with an insatiable appetite to max out the Visa and shop till we damn well drop. If the inclination to do so were willing, I could formulate a choo choo train spanning treatise on this mental affliction however I fear that any kind of delving and dabbling towards determining the applicable theorem to this affair would lead me to the potty house. Non, merci, i shall veer far far away from such a perilous path. Unblemished and untainted from my refrain to be roped in with the other infected lepers i have chosen to err on the side of caution when it comes to being hoodwinked by the tricksters. Let the virtues of prudence and conscientiousness navigate my course. The idea of being lead to water like some equine zombie masteredand manipulated by the nefariously multiple pick and mix assortment of con artists and swindlers out there not fitting well with my dignified view of claiming at least a morsel of free will against what the sages contest. A buy it now at the steal price blasphemously besieged biblical day of consumptive decadence and debauchery. Would you forgive me for saying Jesus! While i could lambast the moribund meaning of the original Christmas before version 2.0 roared into town a fierce flurry of a tirade is unlikely going to galvanise a turning of the tides in my favour. Nor do i long to be wiped out by my own self exhausting tsunami and the backwash backlash that will inevitably return avec force with my torrent of uppity Tinsel Time rebuke. As deeply romantic that I am I’m not totally clueless to realise that Christmas as we know it is only set to evolve even further into a monster which makes even Godzilla appear tame in comparison. No, i will not venture down this daunting path only to be mowed down before i can even have the chance to get wound up. However, before you smarmy bunch cheekily envoy me your naughtiest wink and smirk with glee while proclaiming out loud “back to the bargain hunting” afford me some respite to try and sway you towards modifying if not tempering your faiths. Why not break the mould and instead of drowning in a golden Xmas you surrender yourself instead to a blissful put your mind at ease Green form instead.There are boundless options for those of you driven to a more eco-empathetic form of seasonal merriment which does not come at the cost shopmania. Slight and subtle adjustments to your festive plans need not put a dampener on the animated enthusiasm which stems from a satisfying social occasion. After all, without trying to sound like an overpriced sappy Hallmark card, it’s a time for loved ones. Asides from feeling like Captain Planet (he’s a hero, whose gonna take pollution down to zero) you’ll also find that there are health inducing, salubrious and anxiety reducing benefits from not be caught captive by the “conglomerate” Xmas spirit. Being pilloried because the stone on her ring was too small, because the kids only had 10 gifts each under the tree, you didn’t eat enough chocolates, you forgot to buy and gurgle back more booze, you’re still too skinny, you’re just not in debt enough, why the hell aren’t you running around like a stressed headless chicken? Indeed a displeasing statistical phenomenon of the season is perturbing rise in domestic violence reported by women. Perhaps what is only worse than these conducted abuses are the ones which go unreported by our justice system. This often proceeds in tandem with the increased inebriation of citizens during this period. What is even more alarming is that women are now a major statistical proportion of the severest cases of alcohol intoxication. The data would suggest that home aggression, a variety of crimes and drunk driving mortality figures all reflect a correspondence with the nature of the modern Christmas. In my honest assessment, I attribute many of these deplorable travesties to the psychological feelings of inadequacy which the event connotes. Men stressed attempting to secure extra employment to pay the bills while having less time to appreciate being with his family while women are forced to work doubly hard to obligate in fulfilling their “female roles” to cook more, buy more, send out the cards, buy the “right” gifts and serve like a welltrained female slave. Is it any wonder that this joyous month of mayhem is responsible for some of the highest levels of, Depression, isolation loneliness, eating and weight gain and heart attacks throughout the calendar year. I thought one was supposed to feel happy at this period. Instead, they are exiting the season feeling drained, insecure, weathered and downright miserable. Disturbingly the event seems to be growing in size like a ravenous hamster. Advertising being streamed out to the public and malls all dollied up as early as mid October. Well, good grief but then I suppose the early bird gets the worm. Then there is the kind of Xmas AFTER Christmas where people go utterly gift Loco. Boxing Day, as is often the standard scenario, is repeatedly busier than even Xmas eve lined with eager beavers hunting a Post Christmas Perk. When will this pandemonium end? Why is it that we “Sheeple” (sheep + people) feel so compelled to complete surrender all sense of logic and go totally bonkers? Some psychologists, supported by the research of social and cultural anthropologists, sociologists and other social scientists believe that our crazed frenetic behaviour is induced by our inner need to prove that we have “attained” more than what we had when we first started at the beginning of the year. Inevitably, it is associated with power, prestige and status and is (provided we have the cash) a facile way to compete tete a tete with our neighbours. We may not be able to have the hot bod of our biggest idols or lack the patience and perseverance to become an MD so buying fills an internal void to say hey I’m doing alright because my wife and I have a new car etc. However, in our present culture of it’s great for the day then throw it away security in objects the theorists would argue is remarkably temporal. So why self incarcerate ourselves in these soul stripping prisons? Like that great Freddy Mercury hit it’s time that we hit back at a malevolent culture which plays on our envies and fears, we should really “want tobreak free” from the auditioned roles which the markets are trying to robe us up in. As in that other extremely relevant song all we should really worry about in life is that we always “wear sunscreen”. In short, your health is your wealth and most other things aside are irrelevant, especially how mod your IPod is how swanky your garbs are or how hip your bling is. These field specialist surmise that Xmas as a social adhesive seriously needs to be re evaluated given it’s modern twist in nature as polarises and fragments the fibres which have historically bonded members together during a national statutory day of R and R. Far from relaxing and relishing the event, we are incited to become competitive, critical and even jealous when we are out financially “gunned” by our wealthier colleagues who become rivals of our own economic position. In sum, those with less are made to feel bummed about it and this kind of thinking would not normally take place at any other time of the year. Speaking from experience and from the heart I’m thoroughly over playing this rigged little concourse of gambling with the bogus idea that buying will acquire me admiration, friendship and contentedness and warm fuzzy feelings with myself. Ba humbug to the nouveau Noel. So let me share with you some of the head spinning ways in which a Green Christmas will reignite and rekindle your sense of security while others are shadowed and swallowed whole by this increasingly shallow sham.Keep in mind that Christmas is a time of extravagance and extremely exaggerated efforts. Just envision all the increased power exploitation just because of your desire to add some razzle and dazzle to adorn the inside and outside of your house. Fear not that a miser is what ye become. Who needs to be a Scrooge when their are solar lights or LED ones if you prefer. It’s also advisable that if you follow this option that you purchase lights with a timer device to respectively regulate your usage of them. Then there is the option of creating ornaments with reflective tapes or paints and if you’re daring you can even get living plants that shimmer when light particles caress their foliage. Whatever lights you invest in don’t forget to store them away to extend their life usage. Now what about the all important matter of gift giving? Why not release your inhibitions and give a gift from the heart Made by You instead of Made in China? Often these hazardous products are fabricated in an environment where workers are being mistreated for the sake of filling our stockings. Why not give a green hamper filled with berries, use native flax to make a cute carry bag or purse or use mint and other herbs around the garden as an excuse to have the neighbours around for a refreshing zesty punch or mojito.The volume of traffic congesting our roads increases exponentially at this time of the year as people drive in circles like carcass seeking vultures bumbling and stumbling from shop to shop. Is there such a purpose behind such a lengthy excursion behind the sacred present pilgrimage? Why not draw up a list before you go out to save you wasting invaluable kms on the odometer? Better still grab some buds ans do your Christmas crusade together in one car. While you can buy online think wisely about the often enormous distance some goods have to travel to land under your Xmas tree. Take the moral high ground and be parochial or patriotic and buy local. Your country folk will love you for it. Christmas can be really fulfilling when you are sharing the magic with more than just your kith and kin. What can be more memorable than the gift of the “experience”. Yet, again sociological experts have found that people tend to record and associate their lives around milestones and events. On the other hand, when an object has prominence within a memory it is usually due to it’s firm importance within the recollection of a significant event and a connection often with a special someone. In my case, it was the out of this world TranzAlpine Train trip that I had with my father the year before he passed away. I was blessed to have an incredibly loving father who doted his two special monkeys. I received many gifts from my father but this one takes the cognitive cake. I would have to be steamrolled by a train to forget it. The snow capped peaks, the sweet velvety flavour of my sticky gloriously gooey beesting bun and the soft cab sav hued cheeks of my father as snow flakes brushed his cheeks. It was a memory that struck a chord with all my sensory mechanisms. Try giving cinema tickets, club memberships, gift tokens or something other than gifts that may eventually more than likely find there way to the landfill. Ask people what they want, don’t be Nostradamus about it. Activities done collaboratively not only often contribute to a reduction in waste, but often make us conscious of the vulgarity of over indulging. After all, when I go to see my friends I go to be with them not to be awestruck by their pantry, there’s cheap and nasty fast food for that scenario if one must fill the grumbling tummy tank. Lest we forget that other Xmas ill of the wrapping paper frenzy. It’s inevitable perhaps but there are ways to delicately dance around this paradoxical dilemma. Why not by recycled paper, use brown paper or even reuse the paper of gifts previously received? And don’t forget about those other evil villains the plastic shopping bag. Do your errands with the aid of an eco friendly alternative. Also try an avoid at all costs serving people food and beverages on paper plates, polystyrene cups and plastic cutlery. Not only are you being an environmental cretin just think of how tackarama (tacky) it looks (at least through my eyes anyhow). When mulling over how to deal with this potentially environmentally destructive festival keep one word close to your heart “biodegradable”. Use food where scraps can be turned into nutrient rich compost and grow or buy a living Xmas tree which can at the end of its use be conveniently turned into rich and hearty mulch and plant grub (food). In the Northern Hemisphere where a white Christmas can be savoured, friends in the UK inform me of how they are playing their part by turning down the thermostat by one degree and using it as attempt to reinstate the fun folly of bringing back those crazy zany Christmas themed jumpers back. Come on, you know you will look so retro chic vogue in one.Por fin, before i fatigue you all any further with my ramblings may i suggest that perhaps the greatest sentiment that comes from Christmas is when you take up the position of the Good Samaritan. The gift of charity is one of the simplest ways in which we can truly do an act which brings biopsychosocisl joy to all parties. It could be by way of sponsoring a child, buying a poor family a goat or going down to your local retirement village and hearing some wonderful historical. To end my point, one incident that rings in my mind was how one man pleading on the streets saw a clearly highly stressed woman pull into a pay and display carpark while she took off undoubtedly trying to remember a million and one tasks to do. Only a woman could do this, so I’ve been told by my highly savvy and sophisticated sister. Yet, the one thing she overlooked was to put some coins in the meter. As the sinister or more appropriately tired and agitated meter man neared his way towards the law breaking vehicle the sooty faced and tatty clothed figure of the impoverished beggar came over and took a dollar out of his cap and placed it in the coin slot. The woman will never know who this dashing hero was nor would she ever believe one if they told. While she slowly slid down the escalator like a finely castes Lladro doll only devoid of a parasol I watched as the charcoal silhouette of the nameless man faded into the horizon. A man who barely sported what one would call a shirt. But out of every man, woman and child i saw at that centre that day, only he was the person who truly had the ‘Happy’ shirt graced upon his battered body. As in that famous Oscar Wilde tale of the Happy Prince, it is surely spirits like these which are the real treasures for you and me to find in this Paradise which we share with one another. So be nice to everyone. They are someone’s child, someone’s wife, someone’s future soul mate and even someone’s hero. May each of you be blessed and that you all find what brings you true and everlasting joy this Christmas.

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  2. Thomas King

    Nothing titillates, tantalises and teases the olfactory sense of felicitation more than the aromatic wafting odours from a summertime barbecue. Rekindling ourselves with an epoch in our evolutionary path when we congregated around a flickering flame while taking in the fragrant scents of the beast du jour. However, the outdoor gathering can be as grotesque to environmental good will as any other form of carbon burning pursuit. This is problematic here in Australasia where our enchantment with grilling and dining al fresco makes us some of the guiltiest bbq badies on the planet. So why don’t we just go electric when it comes to toasting our patties and snarlers (sausages)? Ask any carne aficionado to go electric and you surely will be severely tut tutted with an extraordinarily energetic index finger. A significant reason why we bbq is due to the heightened arousal which we receive from the endorphins bouncing around our grey matter when me mentally think of the unique flavour infused into a chargrilled piece of flesh. To cook on an electric hot plate would be like putting the kitchen hob on coasters and rolling it to the patio or the verandah. How very unromantic and disenchanting. So how can one be ethical when postulating over how to be moral but still enjoy a good old fashioned bbq?Yes it is possible and approaching it can be achieved at a number of Greeny levels. Obviously great debate rages over the stoking of the Barbie. The typical mug will stipulate with dignified self assurance that gas triumphs every time. While not entirely clear cut or accurate, I do profess to being on the gas side even though I have a deep passion for the divine art of traditional smoking and grilling practices. If you wish to be a Green Guru about your “barbi-etiquette” and sleep easy at night, natural gas will afford you environmental greater peace of mind. Justifiably, gas is a non renewable but if one factors the greater duration required to chargrill your side of porterhouse your gas consumption should be respectfully briefer on the stopwatch scale. Time asides, the briquettes critical to igniting an old school coal bbq also have their other down flaws. In the time which you are restlessly waiting for your hunger pangs to be saved the carbon monoxide emissions which you will be emitting will be horrendous as opposed to those output by your gas equivalent. At the same time, if you go with the briquettes option be aware that you maybe falling into the category of playing the devil’s advocate. This is because many of these blocks have travelled from emerging economies and the chances of the blocks being composed of rainforest hardwood material will probably be statistically a certainty. Our bbqs should not come at the cost of the world’s last remaining lungs and the most important habitats for a diverse assortment of plant and animal biodiversity. Not to mention the livelihoods of the indigenous tribes for whom these natural realms sustain.At the same time, we must turn to our own health and well being when disavowing the dangers of enjoying a smoke infused feed. Scientific research is producing ever more in depth data which solidifies the reasons why we should tread with care when it comes to our carbon craving bbq infatuations and endeavours to keep doing what our ancient ancestors adored doing. The briquettes, for starters, which we use to cook our food are often covered in a firestarting fluid which has the potential to seriously taint our food. While one can buy bricks which are slower and cleaner burning and are far less environmentally brutal, the carboniferous cancer inducing perils which occur when large volumes of carbon are either ingested or inhaled rise substantially when we pick traditional coal, brick or wood stoked barbecuing over more modern methods. Of course, if one feels really enterprising and committed to the cause, some interesting alternative bbq substitutes include going solar ethanol, or going indigenous and having a pit barbecue. For convenience, cost and practicalities sake, I shall assume that these options are just too extreme for the majority of people reading here. Though they are thought provoking. So, in spite of my clandestine love for doing it the historically old fashioned way, based on it’s carcinogenically deadly nature along with it’s eco inconsiderateness, I will entreat you to my reasons for why you should go almost any other direction than down this dirty and potentially deadly cul de sac.The wisest principle concession is to not rush the cooking process and to bbq with time on your side. It may seem oxymoronic but when one cooks slow and pays attention to how the cuts are being grilled the greater the carbon reduction hazard is reduced. Obviously, meat that is overly cooked should not be the object of any bbquing wizard or pro. The gentle slow cooking of meats over indirect heat will greatly lift ones results while ensuring ones’ sustained well being.
    Marinating meats is a wise approach to further decreasing the cindering and over scorching of meats provided that the marinade is not left to be transformed into black ash itself unfit for human consumption. Scientists also believe that pre-heating meat in a microwave before the will fast track the cooking process and lead to less time on the grill significantly reducing the carcinogenic risk rate. To avoid flare ups and to sizeably decrease the spread of nasty noxious toxic chemicals all over your food, you may even wish to trim the fat away from your pork chop or peel off the skin from your chicken cutlets. It may seem like a sin unto itself but your heart will thank you for this courageous sacrifice with many palpitations of gratitude in your lengthened life period here on Earth.Perhaps above all other tid bits is the critical matter of ensuring the cleanliness of your cooking surface. Take every effort to avoid fatty meats like sausages, patties, ribs and black puddings. When food is burned, these chemicals mount up which is not good news for you and your health. So remove all charred or burned bits before eating even again if this seems wasteful. Turning meat regularly at a lower temperature will assuredly help prevent charring as will the use of a thermometer. So ask your butcher what is the optimal temperature to cook your chops, steaks and kebabs. It’s their job to be in the know on these matters and you may even pick up a useful piece of advice which you previously never knew. It may be something as simple as the different temperatures and times required to bbq the perfect chicken Kiev as opposed to a moist beef olive. So go on and be courageous and pluck up the nerve to pick at their brains. I’m sure they will be flattered by it all.Green side dishes, especially cruciferous ones such as the dreaded broccoli, are superfoods which every grill lover should have to companion and compliment their meal. This is because they contain large traces of essential anti-inflammatory nutrients isothiocyanates which modify the manner in which our digestive system breaks down dangerous chemicals which normally accompany the bbquing process. This is a splendid approach to improving the odds of staying a carnivore while enjoying eating grilled meats. Above all, remember the rule of thumb that “if it’s well done it’s probably overdone”. It’s imports to record that overcooked meat carries no-good chemicals and can contribute to a number of future health problems. So teach yourself the Art of cooking the Salubrious Steak and don’t chance your health equilibrium with burnt or for that matter raw meat. Teaching young ones how to barbie smart is a great approach to also instructing them to appreciate health by not allowing them to ever accept overly burnt food. For instance, once something IS cooked, don’t just leave it to get even more smoked. Offer it to a famished guest or put it in the microwave while you BBQ on. Always plan to cook to accommodate and don’t ever try juggle cooking everything at once for everybody (especially if you are entertaining for a large gathering). Ensure that your guests understand and keep them satiated and satisfied with some finger food.Once its ready its ready so don’t be too greedy just go ahead and enjoy it. Another great idea when it comes to meat is to mix it up. Red meat naturally is a superb source for protein and amino acid but it is not good to over indulge excessively on it as a high cholesterol and fatty diet increases the risks of getting cardiovascular diseases. To moderate the risks while maximising the benefits why not incorporate some white poultry/meat like chicken, turkey, pork or fish into your barbieing dietary intake. better still give fish including trout, salmon cod and tuna and delicious grilling whirl once in a while and avoid or reduce processed meat such as sausage mince, luncheon and bacon to a few rashers or a portion equivalent to the palm of your hand (and NO grander). Always strive to choose fibrous meat over fatty morsels as they are not only better for you and your heart but are also far more filling. You can always intensify the cuts flavour with fresh spices from the garden or home made salsas.
    If you are at the highest point of the moral pyramid you will realise that life without meat can still be satisfying. It is not my position to play on your conscious when it comes to the often brutal nature of our animal for meat rearing industries. I certainly do not wish to be one of those ‘Kill Joys’ that you neet on tge daily but the point still needs to be made. Can you comfortably live with the choice that you ate an animal whose existence was unbearably cruel to say the least? If you can, make every endeavour to buy ethically farmed products. Animals are sentient beings and even farmed ones deserve humane compass before they reach us and our deep appetites. If you can wilfully muster up the conviction leave the meat! Zucchinis, portabello mushrooms and other delicious vegetables can easily fill the meat void with all the added health pros. Saying aurevoir to meat in your meals is the definitive answer to avoiding all those harmful chemicals which can jeopardise your well being further on the life trail.To end, the host should also learn how to ply the trade of being “barbie-conscientious” when it comes to being eco and good health friendly. An important note to take is to make sure that whilst you are grilling you or somebody is also monitoring for rogue flames that can cause fires. Also these additional flickers are an affirmation that you are using too high a temperature burning your meat and augmenting your health adversities. You definitely don’t want any of the above to contend with. Additionally, try to the keep drip tray and the machine clean to avoid the risk of attracting vermin and pests from settling in your neighbourhood. At the same time, a crisp clean bbq device will reduce the need to use noxious chemicals to deal with problems which benefits not only you and the neighbours but ultimately the environment. For nuisances such as mosquitoes, use eco endorsed citronella candles and insect proof panels if eating indoors on a sizzling day. If you do your chomping outdoors you can lift your gracious status as a gentleman or lady by containing the fanfare and trumpeting of your vociferous invitees by urging them to display some decorum and manners. Noise pollution, while something we are told to shut up and deal with in the Beautiful South can facilitate health concerns such as stress, anger, fatigue, sleep deprivation and blood pressure by those having to tolerate the potentially boisterous affair from behind thinly paled fences. Display a degree of courtesy towards your street folk and don’t try and agitate them or drive them nuts with your backyard bbq banquet.At the same time, urge your guests to have consideration towards parking on the street. Beware of children and of pets and the reserved parks of busy residents or service personnel such as waste collectors. A great way to counter this conflict would be to organise a ride share where people carpool their way down to your back patio bonanza. One invaluable suggestion is to curtail the alcoholic influence of such a reunion. Alcohol often induces poor conduct and can lead to serious accidents and injuries endured by both the member concerned or by others they may encounter (i.e. In a brawl or car crash). Heavily inebriated guests often overstep social boundaries and can damage the socially therapeutic good willed spirit intended by the affair. So don’t allow the fun to mutate into a fretful fiasco.The homeostasis of positive social diplomacy is reliant on mutual courtesy. Be respectful towards others and if you are intending to incorporate alcohol into your festivity do not encourage people to drink and drive. Arrange for a taxi, a designated sober driver or provide an area for your guest to rest it off. If dining outside and it’s rather brisk why use an outdoor heater where heat has to constantly be pumped to warm the room. It’s just absolutely absurd as far as logic goes. If it’s cold rug up or employ your common sense eat and eat inside where it’s likely to be far more accommodating comfort wise. Lastly, when preparing the setting be eco smart about it. Go to the Thrift or Opportunity Shop and invest in some cheap plates, cups and cutlery instead of using plastics, paper or polystyrene. Or you could serve your meats in breads such as hot dogs, burgers, souvlaki or in pita pockets/wraps. Or if you wish to be fancy and go for the exotic you can go for the eye catching option of serving your barbied up goodies on biodegradable leaf platter. For a Green Themed twist you could alternatively ask your guests to bring their own plate. If you absolutely must rely on the “plastic fantastic” evil option entice people to write their names on the cups to avoid excessive material dumping and have bins labelled with the appropriate recyclable titles on them. Being a Green Samaritan need not cease whilst one is in a partying spirit. And always avoid buying and stocking up on lots of small bottles and packaging. Buy the large bottle of fizzy pop soda and then apply the eco savviest manner to dispense the bubbles between the guests all while staying a Green Warrior at the same time. With glorious weather ahead of us we have every right to live it up. And if we can do in an ecobiopsychosocially caring fashion then both we and nature are going to have a healthy happy bumper Summer this 2015/16. To good clean, green fun, Folks filled with the melodies of Blues, great brews and barbecues. Cheers

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  3. Thomas King

    In light of New Zealand’s recent scrutiny and pressure under the international spotlight in terms of its milking and mining industries one would think that we would be throwing libations of gratitude to that one bastion of hope: the New Zealand tourism industry. For though one big paddock we may be we do enjoy endowing ourselves with lofty providential overtones. A Garden of Eden which never fell from grace and where if God had a choice the almighty one would would without hesitation pick Godzone (God’s Own) to settle and spread his mighty roots. Yet we sure do have a bewildering way of praising the divine. In spite of our natural splendour we seem conflicted over how we Adam and Eve Kiwis should compose ourselves in this fertile paradise. Yearning, to savour the natural wonder while profiteering from it deceitfully without God or anyone else knowing. A desire to stay if not return to innocence while pilfering our sacred garden for curiosity of globalisation beyond our leafy enclosure. Being taunted by the snake of capitalist lust and the craving to have more while we slowly lose what we already hold proximal to our palpitating heart. Flightless angels for birds being replaced by foreign infestations, all for the sake of fulfilling our trade fix. And yet we dream on as if paradise lost well never was so. Because, im spite of all our sheep, their fur, timber and recently the great fat “Cash-Cow” New Zealand’s first images may well have been postcards which an eager voyager envoyed during a Thomas Cook holiday excursion. How else would you dupe some poor Britton to depart from everything they hold near and dear? Future Martian real estate agents may wish to take a few marketing lessons from the Wakefield and other talented illusionists who lended a rather enthusiastic hand in “inventing” and innovatively dispersing the image of New Zealand as a mysterious utopia without equal. So passionate was the ploy we continue telemarketing and adhering to the faith today. Smiling with just a hint of smugness when an inviteereassures us of our egotistical views that we live on the greenest place in all of creation. All to often seeking to feel self assured by that baited question “so what do you think of us?”. Anticipating for the response which we all attentively yearn to hear, offering our arrivees to speak freely but if they thought that they were disembarking onto a democracy then they had better of thought again. While a host of old world crosses brandish our flag along with les couleurs de liberte we can be incredibly cagey when it comes to free thinkers who don’t prescribe with our ideologies pertaining to what we like to conceive about ourselves. Let the wrong words spill from your loose liberal lips and seal your fate, go on i double dare you. How quickly I’ve been informed to watch out for that brash Yank, whining Pom or opinionated Frenchie all because they dared to compare. Contrasting is something we Kiwis do not do well. Measuring NZ against Europe, the US, Asia, who the hell would even dream up a notion such as this ludicrous one? To debate about the morality of New Zealand’s pristine purity and virgin sainthood is tantamount to the sacrilegious. And we claw back like an enraged Old World inquisition seeking to lynch, sink or purge any doubter who speaks out against the Kiwi faith. Criticising Aotearoa our “Land of the Long White Cloud” akin to an unthinkable felony punishable by a decently appropriate life sentence. Still, we are well travelled, intelligent and insightful people who persist in thinking like dinosaurs. Adhering to those old gimmicks lured to lull impoverished Brits to lower their guard and take a 6 month boat trip to the greatest thing since sliced bread. Many bit their tongues, others couldn’t have even if they had tried. If you have the stamina and a functioning torch you will find an astounding pile of cob web covered letters barely legible fading after years of neglect of disgruntled immigrants who quite simply wanted their money back and the boat to spin around. Clearly some very unhappycustomers. However, the upbeat saw past the colossal problems of developing a civilised society whilst far from the Mother Land and encircled by less than hospitable natives. In fact these natives became somewhat of a curiosity for the Europeans who arrived here. To this day, it’s rather ironic than when white New Zealanders bestow gifts upon outsiders it is normally reflective of a Maori culture per se, not a Pakeha (New Zealand European one). We may have wanted to supplant the Maori with our own stock but when it came to forming a national identity, the Maori arts and dances came in particularly useful when trying to tell Europeans we were Europeans but from Down here Down Under. In fact, in a humorous twist, if you can see Imperialism and the eventual subjugation of a first nations people as remotely funny the Maori probably regarded us white folk as kinds of tourists where a lot of goodies and wealth could be derived. They were remarkably assiduous at selling la Belle Nouvelle Zelande to us and materially gained greatly. They just didn’t have a contingency plan for us liking the place so much that we chose to stay. At a period when landscape art was all the rage it’s no wonder why New Zealand became defined by way of the scenery which the brush portrayed. Early artistic encounters of our land were either going to be about Maori or the land. And yet we spiritually infused both subjects with a sense of European romanticism. Gifting New Zealand a golden age association which we were fortunate to bear witness too. Indeed, these images lead to the popularity of the now gone Pink and White Terraces which we Europeans caught sight of barely at a heartbeat. In a heartfelt moment, it seemed to encapsulate the British remorse of having to be in the painful position of presiding over the transformation of an idealised harmonic idea of New Zealand into an ordered settler society. In a bold fashion to quell the remorse, fictions were penned to uphold the aura of this rapidly fading pre Britannica NZ. However, as ourcolonial and later more autonomous Crown officiated governments have fundamentally discovered, the art of balancing Paradiso unblemished NZ with that of Trade NZ has been a hard act to juggle. With respect to our isolation, this is with some sympathy understandable. Other than the Australian territories we were internationally isolated. In fact, if not for the missionaries and Australia (and it’s own fears of Austral isolation itself), NZ might interestingly have developed into a rather unique capitalistic rogue state run by highly enterprising Maori tribesmen. Indeed, many Maori felt that the creation of the United Tribes of NZ in 1835 five years prior to our Treaty was the international acknowledgement of an accord which would allow Maori to do business with the world, including tourism. And as far as the final Treaty was concerned this was less about an assurance of Crown security than about a recognition of the Maori right to benefit from trade and commerce. Defend themselves? The Maori, like the Zulu of Southern Africa, were confident of their own prowess to defend the fort. Indeed, close inspection of history will tell any reader that it took wave loads of British infantrymen to quash the Maori rebellion during the Maori Wars largely fought in our North Island. Defeated they may have eventually been but vanquished they never were as Maoridom continued to be the shaper of a definitive NZ identity and a bond with the land. Our views towards the land shaped by those of the Maori so much they we take them for granted to this day. When we seek a delicious meal of crayfish, lobster and lemon and mayo it’s no surprise that we dream of perching ourselves on a rockery on the wave lapping coast of Kaikoura (place of food) where we can enjoy our sumptuous seafood with a serving of salty chips with a splash of vinegar and perhaps a fruity flute of Marlborough bubbles or suds. Yet, in the process of engaging in the fantasia of myth making we are cast at sea drowning in the depths of irrelevantly trivial affairs.If you are a New Zealander you will know what I’m getting at. Those stupid first world fixations that one worries about such as what to do when you’re not in a wifi zone and you’re dying to hear a cricket update or catch up on some serious Snap Chatting. Recently our media has been strewn with these absurdities. What should we call the North and South Island? Should we change our anthem? The issue over what new words should enter our New Zealand Vernacular English dictionary (yes, it’s English, but sometimes not as you know it!) and perhaps that biggest headline hogger of all the referendum to change the flag. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for news and sociological and linguistical evolution as we shift as a nation. However, it is when we are forced into them by Nationalistically right wing papers, tv and radio i feel that I’m being taken for a social numbskull or dimwit. Yes, Mr Keys our fearless leader the points are there and I have absorbed them. Our flag does resemble Australia’s one, some people take exception to the Union Jack, black is our national colour, our teams wear silver embroided ferns yaddy yaddy yah I get you mate. If this is what our people had wanted I’d be perfectly content like a docile fluffy sheep to follow my shepherd to the pen. Yet, to squander millions on a referendum for a glorified “logo” which the vast majority of us never wanted is stark raving. If i went to a restaurant and ordered cheesecake and was served profiteroles i would think that the waiter would need to wipe the excess wax from out of his eardrums. So why is it that our politicians ears are so clogged up with nonsensical follies? On boats, English authored movies and now flags that look like ghastly graffiti gone bad. Canadian friends trt to temper the fury flaming of my tossing and turning tongue. “Oh i don’t nu (know) Thomas. We changed our flag back in the 60s and we’ve never looked back since”. Please understand, it’s not the I’m counter nationalistic or anti patriotic. I realise that sometime perhaps in my lifetimethis will be a pressing issue of collective sociocultural importance. If it was what the people wanted I’d probably jump on board with the communal convoy riding the buoyant bandwagon to a new New Zealand. No, what boils me is the pilfering of our taxes on this issue rather than on what has always solidly sold Myth New Zealand to me, my fellow Kiwis and the rest of the world. For beyond the stretched lies there is a strangely relevant truth in the idea of Beautiful New Zealand. We are genuinely blessed to live in a nation still largely unaffected by some of the ills that plague our more developed and better established neighbours. And yet we choose to blunder money on frivolities such as Rugby and Cricket World Cups. I say leave them to Australia. As my own squash coach once told me “don’t worry about enjoying the Opening Ceremony just think how good you will feel boozed up with a goldie around your neck come the Closing one”. Alfred did love his plonk rather but his statement hides some pearls of wisdom. For the substance should always take precedence over the superficial surface. Not that we’re incapable of hosting and engaging in these pursuits but rather because I believe there is more to NZ than sport and measuring ourselves against a neighbour several times our size in population and landmass. In a recent educational research report based upon what nouns and adjectives were used when conjuring up images of New Zealand sporting lexicon was surprisingly absent from the list. On the other hand environmental jargon and adjectives reinforcing the former were out in force. The usual suspectable culprits of trees, grass, rivers and the prevalence of natural colours including blue and green. Other nouns were kiwi (including the fruit), sheep (not really from here but oh well!) aaand wait for it Maori. In fact, in a survey contrasting other indigenous races from settled states, the Maori had a favourable image and a respectable amount was know about them. On one occasion, one Scandinavian friend informed me thatthey did a sizeable component on the two big fish of Australasia, Australia and New Zealand. She told me that a considerate part focused on the Maori. Probing her mind, I asked what she thought about the Aborigines. She laughed and said “are you kidding? The Australians don’t give a f**k about them”. Perhaps, she was being a tad harsh as Kevin Rudd had extended the olive branch albeit late in ’08 while we were far from being a saintly bunch. However, the international jury had laid down it’s verdict. In a nutshell we were a clean, green nation populated with hobbits growing kiwifruit surrounded by flightless birds and even more wingless sheep and a populace whom delighted in chasing an oddly shaped ball from one end of the field to the other. Or as one very funny Equatorial Guinean acquaintance once told me we enjoyed partaking in playing “English” football. Asking why he called it this, he replied “because most normal people played with a round ball”. Clearly rugby was still a game, like cricket, which still firmly held it’s imperial roots in the Anglophonic Commonwealth of white settler culture though thankfully this is changing swiftly. If I haven’t by far made my point the overriding view towards New Zealand is more generally towards not merely it’s Environmental Composition but also towards its sociopolitical and economic nature. Great capital is needed to enter into a regatta, large nutrition is needed to build a high performance rugby footballer and cricket is a pursuit for the leisured. Believe me, many people cannot afford half a day yet alone 5 days to a game that often doesn’t produce a winner. Indeed, one of the firm feminist critiques of the year is when the dreaded arrival of summertime brings the lifeless agony of seeing stationary men ritualistically stationed around the box as if waiting for an apparition to unfold. The WAGs getting together and telling each other “i sent my husband in to vacuum the lounge. He went in only to come out saying” dear i just can’t. It’s (the games) been washed out”.Or that other partner who said her prince Charming was so keen for the cause he was in the lounge for 5 days. Clearly, we are an affluent democracy with the solvency, free will and above all else “free time” to exercise our freedoms remarkably liberally. So how come the Chinese don’t play cricket i may ask you? You may look back at me as if I’m some kind of brainless nitwit. Because they just don’t you might frostily hasten, inferring by your cold biting intonation that I’ve just made a first class Muppet of my intellectual credentials. But, in all honesty this is a serious question with a very relevant answer. From my window of insight i would suggest that many (including the Chinese example) cannot afford to invest any interest in the game even if they genuinely longed to on the basis of their lack of time and capital. We may be slow to concede but we here in New Zealand are fortunate in that we both have the capital and the time to invest however we may please. However this time and even capital is often seriously misdirected. I call this the Western condition pretty much when you have too much of something but don’t know what to do with it. To give an example i have two neighbours one who could simply not survive without a regular 2 to3 day weekend and regular holidays in between and another one who is a holiday miser who loves working and who is always on his toes. One would think that the leisured individual would generally be not only the happier of the two but you’d be surprised. The neighbour who works more does so because he enjoys doing so. As time free is scarce he enjoys this even more. Gardening, well wishing his neighbours and enjoying a cracking line up of British comedies. Really, i can hear him whenever my ranchslider is even slightly ajar. While the other bemoans the end of another long weekend tired of over indulging in copious hours of tv, over chomping on calorie killing Cheetohs and feeling that 3 days of liberty really achieved very little.In many respects we are like that latter lazy lethargic Garfield. Not that the chubby always hungry ginger lacks it’s charms. So what is my point you may be rushing to ask? I suppose my argument is in a nutshell that “privileged” first worlders, such as us like us laid back lasagnas get so caught up in thinking we have no real problems to really be concerned about that we fails to realise just how incredibly wrong we are. Like the plump fellow i mentioned (who in spite of his indifference to taking action is really quite a splendid chap) we seem to associate “major problems” with other less privileged neighbours or states. The toppling of the rainforest in Brazil, the intoxicating pollution of smog blanketing industrial Aaia, the fracking of America, the migrant tsunami lapping the fringes of Europe, we have nothing to worry about except whether we should see the Big Bang Theory or Two Broke Girls tonight. However, prescribing to this indifference underlies just how many far more important issues we are overlooking in our very own backyard. While the media focuses on the sex appeal of our long legged short skirted hockey “honies” or the rugby “beefcakes” who serve as appealing eye candy for the female viewer, real investigative journalism continues to fall ever deeper into it’s ever deepening grave as we insist to know just what those z Kardashians are getting up to now. Surely the world has more to tell us than the bad boy good girl gone wild antics that get cooked up in California. Isn’t it about time we got of our Kardashian seized bootys and used that weekend more constructively. New Zealand, while you are only a heartbeat old, i order to carpe diem and shed yourself free from your outgrown DC, Dickies and other teeny bop attire. Surely our deepening voice is a sign that we really must grow up and act our age.Our environmental state is a minefield of scarcely and seldomly inspected stories which should be making our pop frenzied ‘E’ crazed, ET doped up media blush. What New Zealanders crave to know is the real news that pertains to our sociocultural and spiritual bond with the land and what makes it distinctively Kiwi in conception. Not to be the initiator of another Aussie vs NZ verbal tirade but their species, however adorable they may appear, have no place here in our ecosystem. And yet we are hardy acknowledging the monumental problem these marsupials with a hankering for the munchies are having on the podocarpus forest of the Northland peninsula region. Why are we gifting these greedy Australian Gremlins an easy meal? Do we only intend for them to bush wack and bite their way through the last remnants of our native timber forests so that we can then have a clean slate for commercial pinus radiata plantations? Oh don’t blame us, we’d sheepishly shrug our shoulders. “Blame the Aussies”. How come more Austrian, Chilean and Canadian backpackers that I’ve encountered know more about this alarming issue than the average tweedle dum Kiwi? Oh i forgot, we’re asking ourselves why fewer people are eating lamb on Sundays? Maybe it’s because they like chicken instead!Those tourists whose first vocal decibels towards NZ chimed those two ringing words which make us an identifiable unique entity; trees and those animated soaring masters that reign over their cloud piercing tops the birds. To have one without the other would be like having a banana split sundae without the gelato or heaven forbid the plantain. What fun is the sticky hot fudge sauce without le glace to melt or a piece of tree fruit to caramelise. And yet the destruction of our forests is a double whammy blow to the devastation of our priceless biodiversity. As we continue to play Mr Inactive and Mr Irresponsibly Indifferent more and more of our precious biota is facing an almost impossibly insurmountable challenge to survive. Worryingly, our Department of Conservation has undertaken the tots and mental with their scientific calculators and the figures are not flattering for the Greenest place on place. Their figures suggest that a staggering 70—90% of all endemic bird, reptile and fish life is at the dangerous brink point regarding it’s existence. While we amusingly are wiggling and waggling our jumped up little fingers at Japanese and Korean “scientific” (cough cough) whaling expeditions our efforts in the blue leave little to be desired. In the proximal coastal marine zone some of the finest species once commonly found around New Zealand are now thinning out rapidly. Deep sea trawling has put the Orange Roughies fish numbers in a horrendously low position and the overfishing of marlin/swordfish of the Bay of Islands has considerably thwarted a rapid rebreeding rate in the region. At the same time, the DOC actually pays personnel to monitor the over zealous who intend to strip rockeries bare of crayfish and lobsters along with those who are brazen to challenge the seasonal “pipi” (shellfish) collection quota. Yet, perhaps it the alarming decimation of our maui dolphin whose numbers have plummeted to below 50. In spite, of bold activist door to door work, our Hollywood lapping hot goss media have barely batted aneyelid. Why aren’t we concerned about this? How is it that we’re so willing to go out and buy trinkets and other junk even for people we really can’t stomach and yet we can haven’t had a gut full of this injustice to our environment? An environment which brings hordes of internationals to our shores every year many often taking up erudite and activist positions to speak up for the environmental injustices suffered by these magnificent beasts. Dear me if we call this place God’s Zone or God’s Home God must be the most forgiving landlord in the universe. If i was him and I saw the behaviour being conducted by these inconsiderate tenants I would boot them as far out as my boot would allow. The sight of it all is sickening and yet our first world concern is how can we have a real Kiwi Xmas? Perhaps the real question should be what will be left of this land to make it identifiable to being a distinctively NZ landscape in the long term? What worth will this land have for any of us if it loses what makes it ours? It will just be a fecal filled drophole dominated by sheep, cows and farmers. This is just wrong on so many ethical and moral levels. Why are we so prepared to have such a costly and time consuming referendum on such an unnecessary issue such as what flag should be flying on our flag when the “Real” emblems that make up my homeland are being extinguished out of being. Why must the kiwi, kakapo parrot and the kea potentially be like the moa or the dodo when i tell my children about them one day. “You know i saw them all once” I’d confess. And then my bright eyed daughter would deliver that un merciful dagger to my soul with that question and clever kid would present “But why didn’t you try to save them, Daddy?”. Crucified by the youth of tomorrow is not a fate i fancy facing.And that is only the tip of the ice berg of the anthropocentrically derived miseries we will find ourselves in unless you unplug ourselves from the dulling clutches of Reality TV. The real reality lies all around us in the shambles that is our lack of volition to save the genuine assets of our Kiwiana identity markers. Yes, our sports folk are splendid looking beings now drop the charade and for that matter the remote and don’t return until supper time. The jewels in NZs Crown are undoubtedly it’s natural enclaves and the flora and fauna hidden within this treasure chest of Paradise. DOC is engaged valiantly in a losing battle to save the pride we wear on our lapel when we say that we are from this place. All the cows on Earth cannot do justice for what prestige our sacred and special environment has done for us. We want the world to believe it too and our Millennial Film Movement was state endorsed to sell Utopia NZ to the world. In a religiously panoramic plateau it is our environment even before rugby that spiritually binds all NZ. We all love doing something which reestablishes our emotional nurturing bond with the “Motherland” from which suckled us enabling us to both spiritually and physically flower. From track slashing mountain bikers, to piste carving snow bunnies, to your leisurely day stroller alongside the Avon River bed, nature and it’s sound state plays an important roll in our own therapeutic well being. In my case, it is swimming in the estuary which previously highly inadvisable. It’s great when some rules are able to be broken.Tourists come here to experience the “natural divine” which we are blessed to experience diurnally. This, the Department of Conservation, and their endeavours to fight tooth and claw for the salvation of the Temple of Nature, is where MY tax dollars should be going, not on a silly emblem. The invention of nations and nationalities is something which never ceases. I can assure you that the multicultural NZ od today is far more intricate and elegant than the clunky stalling monster of the bicultural one of yesteryear. Let’s put our money into investing in the conservation campaign which is critical to not only saving the ecological setting, the tourists sector but above all our prestigious heritage. Tourists don’t come here to see the possums, wallabies and magpies that have happily taken up permanent residence here. There’s Australia for all that carry on and though we of late have politically played the rub up and chum up to Oz strategical position, we need not environmentally speaking convert ourselves into a miniature Terra Australis.Our dedicated and devoted DOC crew shouldn’t be financially docked for their travails. They need all the help they can get if tourist huts tracks and the landscapes they weave through are to be well maintained safe, healthy, predator free and teeming with a fountain of natural abundance. Why should we restrict ourselves to creating ornithological museums on small offshore islands while the two main islands that make up our Heaven on Earth TM such wastelands dominated by bovine overlords? The true joy of coming to NZ is the serendipity of the pop up chance encounter with one of our native delights. And yet what astounds the tourists irritates us. Coastal fishermen fume over the fishing restrictions placed on parameters where seal and yellow eyed penguins laze and roost. There is public outrage over the absence of an adequate state highway linking the impoverished West Coast Community with the Nelson. As far as their concerned the Nelson National Park is substantial enough to have a road carving and winding it’s way through it. But isn’t one small road just another anthropocentric biohazard? Besides bowling over large numbers of native birds each years they also carry two other highly problematic environmental hazards:the feline and the canine. Often dumped without consideration of the perils they present, these cute ex domesticated pets quickly rediscover their predatory roots. And even hunters and exterminators have to tread delicately when dealing with these introduced avian annihilators for fear of being prosecuted by the Royal Society for the Protection against Cruelty to Animals for trying to take the problem into their own ballistic hands. Dog and cat lovers bites are just as painful as their noisy trumpeting barks. Do we really need even more roads to encourage even more people to go driving and gas pilfering about? Why are we not enticing more people to hike through traditional Maori and colonial passages? Foreigners are grabbing their compasses and trekking their hearts out. Why aren’t we following theirinspired lead? A permit to push for a road will only foster a greed for more pushing from the avaricious and the unquenchable thirst for further eco plundering. What instantaneously pops into mind like an instant camera snap is the hunger for more mining. And here we are, tisk tisking the world for their dirty carbon burning bad misconduct. Shipping them more coal doing more coastal drilling and pushing for the opening of more natural gas reserves in bio hallowed holy zones. What sacrilege! And yet our ignorance of our lore or the laws is just ignorance. As i toy linguistically with my fellow Kiwis like an excitable kitten with a stuffed catnip mousy i realise that my expats need to pick up the pace, prick up their ears and smell the coffee. To take note of the dilemma which is global warming and the retreat of our exquisite glaciers, the drying of our rivers the ecological and energy problems we may one day certainly face and the unseasonal weather which every year that passes brings ever more droughts, fires and natural catastrophes to our biostability. Everyone here may be talking about Australia having to add new colours to their heat wave chart along with their water woes but I’m very afraid that we too are heading devastatingly in this diabolical direction. We just need to look at what has happened in California along with the fires annually in Oz and the pressures they have placed in these communities. Do we honestly yearn to lose swathes of bush and priceless bird life to uncontrollably frequent infernos? Where a rise in temperature makes it appetisingly appealing for new bugs to team up with the possums in tearing through our forests and mowing down our bird life? The stripping of hills left naked and eroded of their life giving nutrient rich top soil as it is windswept or washed away? The draining and taintimg of our aquifers as we deal with a dryer water starved landscape? Or the loss of quirky national oddities but goodies like the increasingly rare large New Zealand land snail.Now these are topics which we should be deliberating upon at the poll booth. These are the matters which should be striking our heartstrings and our desire to protect what truly is extraordinary about this land. We have already suffered too many casualties to our ecological opulence. If our clean and green tourist image is to hold ur will require us to take more interest in the concerns which we need to address and less preoccupation with what All Black rugby player has the greatest Twitter readership. As far as I’m concerned, this is just one more first world problem we really shouldn’t be all too concerned about. Unless, of course, they have something to say about the state of the nation and it’s nature.

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  4. Thomas King

    Recently, i purchased my first piece of real estate. I know i was pretty buzzed about it myself. Home ownership, once the right of passage enjoyed by nearly every Kiwi is increasingly well beyond even the most devoted penny thrifts amongst us. So clearly, i felt i had bragging rights after my complete cash payment and full ownership of the section at the tender age of 35.It’s not much upon first inspection wedged between two other future neighbours (hopefully the respectful kind) but it’s cosy, peaceful and abounded by leafy trees which let in just enough sunlight while providing an adequate level of shade. It’s all ready for me to take up residency, the only thing that’ missing is my intent to move in. For there will be a time when i do accept my inevitable occupation of my plot but my inclination to move in straight away is still far from my inclining. The obtaining of my grave, my final resting place, certainly raised a few eyebrows and dropped some youthful and not so young jaws i must confess. Flabbergasted and gobsmacked fellows looked at me as if i had gone completely potty. “2k on a hole!” one stammered “But you haven’t even croaked yet”. Thanks for the reality check i thought smiling acknowledgingly at the individuals wise observations as if they had just bestowed upon me some remarkable kind of revelation. Yes, i was still alive and kicking so congratulations for your astute perceptions of determining the animate from the inanimate. Clearly and perhaps a lot of people were genuinely concerned about my actions. From those who feared that i had a life threatening disease and only had days to live to others who actually believed i was contemplating taking my own life. Don’t worry, I’m not intending to jump of that bridge so don’t look all spooked friends. However, this is not certainly something that people proudly pin up on their Facebook page under the status “Got a grave, just need the box”. So why did I splurge out on a death pit when there is so many other things i could have derived so many pleasures.from with 2000 NZ smackers. True i could have had a nice little holiday, spruced up the garden with some vibrant flowering, built a man deck to barbie and entertain upon for years of pride, put a new engine in my clapped out Hinda Civic or got some better Xmas gifts than the cheapies i divied (divided) out towards my nearest and dearest. So what were my reasons? Perhaps, firstly because i could. The money was sitting there and it was going to go on something. What was something that i “could” spend it on that wasn’t going to go anywhere? Well why not a grave? After I’m gone, departed from my fresh that cadaver ain’t going anywhere. At the same time it has to go somewhere. On my drivers licence i have willingly obliged to offer my organs as a donor if my own life cannot be salvaged in the event of a tragedy such as a car collision. This stunned and surprised many of my Catholic friends. To this day my Catholic and very religious mother tries to swing me against this philosophy every year. Yes, i will do almost anything for the woman who gave life to me but as far as this matter is concerned this is a closed book case. Mum, I love you but i stand resolutely behind my conviction. And even if i could be saved what kind of a life would there be worth living for if i was to be living unconscious hooked up to a machine in a vegetative state? Being fed by a tube liquid foods being sponge washed by some poor orderly not having control of my faculties. The sad existence of potentially never being able to run again, to kiss my future wife, to smell the fragrant odour of jasmine floating in on spring breeze, the taste of buttered brioche with marmalade jam sliding down my palate and the glorious notes of Coltrane easing down my aural tracts. Why would i be so selfish to demand the medical authorities waste what 10 years? 20 years? 50 years of medical research time and resources to keep me “technically” alive when they could do so much more to save so much people. In many ways, i see the situation through the trolley busphilosophical dilemma. If you had the choice to pull the lever and save three people at the cost of killing one. What would you choose? Do you have free will or should you take yourself out from the equation and blame it on fate? Nevertheless have you still voluntarily made a choice? Are you still a killer? Can you lay your head down at the end of the day and sleep easy with your final choice or are you still inevitably a murder? I suppose i can feel a little surer of my decision as i can comfortably accept allowing several people to be saved if I’m going to be a goner anyway. On the other hand, there is the existential matter. Many fears abound our lives and overriding all of them is the realisation that in spite of education, money, titles and Earthly powers we are not physically eternal. As such some of us tirelessly which leaving try to leave something of a life’s work behind to let the next lot know hey i was once here you know. From monuments to art pieces to manuscripts to our teachings we all have our ways of trying to keep the ideological flame flickering long after the flame has been extinguished. In my case, stone perhaps to seem to be the most fail safe way to ensure the maximum number of people know who you are after you are 6 foot under and kicking up Daisies. Others believe futuristically about a downloadable form of identity. I may be old faahioned but this just a sounds bogusly creepy to me though i can neither confirm nor deny it’s efficacy and ethical merits. While scientists say that if it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck and walks like a duck how genuine will the AI duck be from the real life duck? A copy may have a life and indeed an identity but doesn’t that distinguish it from being the you reincarnate in electronic form? And who then controls our freedoms when we are online? Kim Dot Com, Assange, the CIA? No, confronted by the evidence the dark dingy tomb still seems the safer option. Perhaps because of my Catholic faith there is an internal opiate which insists that their is lifepost life. I certainly hope so for there are many people who I’d love to see in heaven (where I’ve got my heart set on entering). From Joan of Arc to Martin Luther King and of course my loving grandparents and my dear father who had an influential roll in shaping the man whom I’ve become. Perhaps the greatest sage i ever encountered in my entire life my Dad had a monumental monopoly when it came to sculpting my attitudes towards life from it’s alpha to it’s often painful and heart stinging omega. Few words of wisdom have stuck so poignantly and powerfully as Dad’s accepting embrace towards Death’s sweeping entrance. As far as my wise and worldly father was concerned a master piece was a travail of life but not necessarily a true reflection of the face behind the artistic piece. In his own testimony, a successful life was not about how many people “remembered” your name after you had ceased physically living but about a true life that lived on by way of the number of lives you had touched with your own. Undeniably, my father will be a figure remembered for far longer than what will be my fleeting existence on this planet. But, as one friend pointed out at least you will have a tombstone. It’s true that a lot of history is paid towards headstones and Paul Gittins on his enlightened Epitaph books and tv documentary series have highlighted the invaluable lessons which a thoughtful opinion on slate can tell us. That said, the picture created will only ever be minute and minor. The reader may think they know the body under the prophetic words inscribed on marble but if they think they know the nitty bitty intimate detail of what made Thomas Edward King the man under the top soil they would be kidding themselves. For knowing anybody takes a considerably significant amount of intimate time. At university, JFK greatly fascinated me and I took every opportunity to read up on him. For all my endeavours, I’d pass with flying colours on a JFK quiz. But ask me i knew more about him than Jackie, his secretary, him limo guy ora close bodyguard and I’d have to confess no. For knowledge of subjects can come forward freely or even unfavourably against the agents will but a certain identity is retained and only accessed by a specially selective few. And if it later isn’t published or publicly pronounced then this too goes to the grave. However what people feel towards me post my expiration date will not matter as they generally will have only sporadic interest when they look at my stone. I am a person with no cult, celebrity or political significance so while I’m living I’m quite glad when i think that my grave will largely remained unmolested by groupies, Nazis, extremists or occultists. Unless we become like Mexico and start embracing the Day of the Dead which might be a novel concept to start dealing with a concept we Kiwis feel quite uncomfortable dealing with. After all, even the dead can accept that the world is for the living and when our time has come we should graciously make way for the next generation. Indeed, the pharmaceutical revolution promising to send us all into the centenarian camp which scientifically spectacular is still scientifically scurrilous. It is obscene in my perspective as it continues to flare the furor we have towards accepting an act which is inevitable. Will the promise of 20 more years on the body clock mean we actually live any more to the fuller? Will it make us better more virtuous humans? What about the planet? How much more of the Earth will have to be pillaged in order to sustain our carbon footprint for another whatever many more years? Will it even be worth taking the pills or magic tonic if we are bedridden for those extra 20 years of life? Or the social factor: what about all those young individuals having to sustain ever larger longer living elderly while they are being taxed literally to death? Is this fair or righteous? The world past me may be disinterested in my interest but that doesn’t mean that i am uninterested in the state in which i depart the world before my time to bid the worldadieu arrives. In the lowland nations of Europe land is at a premium which will one day be the case in our own country. As our populations blossom both through child bearing and immigration populations are going to naturally grow. But so will mortalities. The idea of grave recycling utterly repulses us Kiwis. “Trust the Dutchies to conjure that one up” would be a typical response. “How cheap, sinister, vile, inconsiderate, tasteless, abhorrent and disrespectful” might be some of the other descriptive interpretations presented forth. However, in a clash for my love towards the traditional I think the underpinnings behind the notion are both morally and environmentally sound. Land is always going to be an invaluable asset and deaths are certainly never going to cease. So why have ever burgeoning Cities of the Dead when land is needed for the living? One could always build skyscrapers for the dead one may argue but any expansion either from left to right or up and down seems preposterous to me. That said, the living still do need a place where they can physically still feel that they are being with their departed loved ones. I understand this completely. Perhaps the obvious hurdle to surmount is the underlying issue of how long a loved one needs a fixed tangible site to visit the deceased whilst they overcome that individuals passing. It was probably 2 years after my Dad had departed that i realised that visiting his grave was more or less a social ritual than a force which brought us closer together. In fact, i felt closer to Dad when i was at the sites he used to love whilst he was alive. Like at the golf course, his favourite fish and chip shop, on the front deck we built together or at the beach. By this period, i knew Dad had physically gone for good and i accepted it. So if he was exhumed it would not cause me that much offense especially given my understanding of he himself felt towards the issue of making a big fuss about death. “Don’t bring me flowers when I’ve croaked (passed away)” he would scoff. “Infact don’t even give ’em to me while I’m alive. They look better in the ground than on my work bench”. Funny enough one geographer, a good keen mate of Dads said that Pops would be spinning in his casket if he saw the carbon footprint that so many of the beautiful bouquets that encircled his resting body had actually travelled. Unlike the softy beneath the romantic crustacean Cancerian shell, Dad was a real pragmatic fellow. Iconography, symbolism and exotically exuberant acts of embellishing didn’t stir him the same way they would have struck a sentimentalist such as myself. My orderly systematic and straight and narrow thinking Virgo sister also shared my father’s no nonsense no fancy bits rational approach to seeing the world in a monochromatic or black and white lens. However, those with rose tinted lenses such as myself need not be mocked for our kaleidoscopic view towards the matter. The reason i say this is because regardless of what end of the emotional spectrum one is no event makes one think more about their humanity and their duty towards being “better” human beings than the finality which is death. After all is makes every single one of us (even the spiritually sceptical) question the meanings behind our nature and our duties while we exist. The human record is full of contradictions. We are capable all at once of selfless love and murderous depravity; of sublime rational insight and utter incompetence; of soul-baring honesty and habitual duplicity; of principled rebellion and obsequious deference to authority; of generosity and jealousy. What, then, is our true nature? Are we rational creatures or are we enslaved by our passions? Are we moral creatures or are we fundamentally selfish? Can we improve the human situation either individually or collectively? Does it all depend on our evolutionary history? These are all profound questions and ones i feel unqualified to answer. To pigeon slot whole swathes of humanity into generic sweeping categories would be a serious insult towards the individualitywhich each of us distinctive at the singular level. So, why should we be so concerned about how we depart the world if we know that once we die we shouldn’t really be that concerned by what we really leave behind? In my opinion it’s because we DO largely generally care that we do want to leave the planet without the feelings of guilt, shame, frustration, anger or remorse hanging over our heads like a dark storm cloud eating voraciously away at our consciousness as we prepare to breathe our last gasp of air. For while I cling to the hope that there is a heaven similar to the one instilled into my brain after years of bible school the only heaven and hell i can ever be concretely sure of is whether i have made my terrestrial existence saintly or hellish for the people who shared their lives around my own. Therefore, why we should care about the environment is because caring and departing it having been eco considerate reflects our respect towards the loved ones and future generations who we leave behind. While our lives are precious and to be lived to the fullest we have to realise that we are an incredibly tiny part of the Earth’s existence and to plunder the Earth of her resources in order to satisfy our brief existence is an Environmental Sin. And yet, since the Industrial Revolution, this greed and selfishness has continued to place the individual life above all other ecosocial obligations. I for one, do not want to leave this planet leaving it a barren wasteland on account if my largely insignificant existence no matter how cruelly harsh this sounds. Humanity faces threatening environmental problems, not least climate change. Can science, technology and free markets provide the solutions – or should we ourselves reconsider our values and priorities? I certainly vouch for the latter as waiting for tech to catch up while we continue to misbehave. Is nature inherently valuable? Should species be protected for future generations? Do we have moral duties to non-human animals, including endangered species?Absolutely, especially if we want to feel free from angst whilst the final moments in our chapter conclude. Why is it that even in death i cling to Earthly desire of possession and of the desire to still claim ownership of a patch of turf which is inconsequential to the finality that is my passing? So that my spiritless body came claim title to the authority of a plot so that future wanderers can see that I was just another average man who sauntered the Earth? Is my life worth such pomp filled reverence? Times are inevitably destined to change. Maori graves that were once tapu (sacred) have been discovered as fresh land has been cleared for both industrial and residential development. Even in the UK an English King was found under a site designated for a supermarket. Clearly deaths which were once significant in the human memory quickly fade into obscurity as old generations are superseded by younger fresh faces. Clearly, the New Zealand attitude to Asia and Asians is very different now than what it was at the time NZ was settled or when we were at war with Japan. Indeed many older Kiwis fearful of German reunification (like some French and Englishfolk) were horrified by the youthful support for it. It wasn’t because we’d forgotten what atrocities Germany had committed in WW2,it was because we realised that this was a different kind of Germany. Or like that typical British wit directed at that old nemesis the French in that classic series Yes, Minister where it is suggested that the true reason why the French have the bomb is only because the Poms do also. However, a war between France and the UK is as likely as one between Canada and the USA or between us and Australia. Spirited rivalry yes, a pretext for war, probably not.What future generations feel towards how we feel presently towards current affairs will be a very different kind of sentiment. I wonder for instance in 2200AD, what some cemetery trekker will think when they come across a cross, a Crescent star or a grave marked by the Star of David? And will the nations as we know them still exist? What type of a country will we be? Will we still see venerating the Glorious Dead as part of our make up? Clearly rituals of remembrance will depend upon a state case by case basis and how that state evolves over time. In Nz, we are caught in the rip of probably wishing to fundamentally be a pacificist nation but because our inadequate armed forces we are still obliged to be puppeteered by the two countries who are most likely guaranteed to save our bacon:Australia and the USA. Yet, in an age where the West collectively have been brought together to deal with the terrorist threat the issue of “what are we prepared to die for?” in order to profess our faith to consumption has never been so pressingly forced upon us. Perhaps if the worth of any grave should go unquestioned it is those who either died under or fighting against a tyrant. For the graves on the Western front along with those disturbing holocaust sites can potentially serve to remind us just how dangerously we as a species can be when we lose all sense of morally rational comprehension. However, it saddens me when these sites become lasting ammunition for the perpetuation of aggressive nationalistic acts deemed as actions of national security. African nations moving post colonially and post tribalism along with Israel’s reluctant desire to deal with a Palestine state are examples that clearly spring to mind. Nations where “othering” has forced them to become as bad if not worse than the force which previously shackled them. As a guidance councillor once told me, “when the bullied becomes the bully”.I suppose as long as humans roam the Earth death and sites of remembrance will always carry some emotional charge. However, for the ordinary amongst us, such offerings are clearly irrelevant. Nevertheless, if i could afford you one piece of advice it would be to choose a religion or at the very least open up to the idea of the spiritual. What is unique about most religions I find is that they are more than dealing with the just the perils of life. On the contrary they are largely concerned with preparing us to accept and face death by living morally virtuous lives. This, at the end of it all is all you can ask of yourselves come the end of the road “have I been a good boy/girl”? Life, i suppose is like an exam. If you have prepared for it properly then you may not know what grade you’re going to land but you can be pretty sure you didn’t fail it either. How could of you when you played by the rules and understood all that was asked of you. Living by decent morals is vital towards leaving this world at peace with yourself. You will leave it a better place than you found it if you moderate your consumption, consider the human rights of those exploited for our capitalistic indulgences and choose to be generous with your time and resources. Give kindly loved goods to the Salvation Army , money towards a charity, donate your body to a medical college, create scholarships for a future student finding a cure for cancer, show compassion towards the poor and give a lot of love to all the beautiful animals that bring song, energy and excitement to our lives. We may start our lives like that magnificent main protagonist in that touching film master piece wishing to leave behind an “opus” that will be our eternal legacy. We may leave having never penned that great novel, waking up richer than Taylor Swift or become a tennis pro with the enviable lifestyle that comes with pro touring but we will be immortalised by those whom we touch.At the end of the transaction i asked the plot custodian if it was a bit strange me buying a grave given my age and based on my healthy still being extremely sound. He nodded but not disparagingly. “Uncommon but not insensible”, he replied choosing his words carefully. He then asked me why i bought it. I replied with equal care but truthfully that I had done so out of peace of mind so that my loved ones didn’t have to go through the stress of arranging it. To which he reassuringly responded “Then you made the right choice”. I still wasn’t sure if I was convinced with his extended approval. Nevertheless, when i die i will have a locatable place where those who love me can elect to visit me if they so wish. However, when my last dearly departed friend or partner has left the Earth they can do with me what they will. For even in death my body should not be a physical obstacle to those who live on merely because a dead entity holds the deeds to a plot of land that could have so many more uses other than a patch of grass which has to be mowed every second day. As my uncle always told me, too many people worry themselves to an early death about owning a home when they should be worried to death about where they’re actually going to live when they kick the bucket. It sounds incredibly corny, as most philosophies from our family normally are but it holds some water. So long as you’re living you can pretty much take account and action for what you and your “body” require, from shelter to food and so on. But unless you’ve been proactive, how can you delegate your volitions when your physical actions are clearly absent. However, one Chinese friends recent acquisition of a 20,000 NZ dollar plot with a spectacular view over the ocean left me thinking incredibly rationally for once as a view with 6foot of soil on top didn’t seem very panoramic from my pauperish perspective. That said, his will WILL be recognised come Judgement Day. If my family had not been such a dogmatic bunch i would have loved to have tinkered with the idea of turning myself into a grief ball to nurture the waning coral reefs of our planet or convert my corpse into a biofriendly seed pod for reinvigorating the depleted rainforests of South East Asia (i always dreamed of going to Borneo). Or even gifting myself a Viking sea burning burial where my flesh may nourish the declining fish species around the North Atlantic. Or as a final humorous side thought i have been informed, by those musically inclined, that you can end your days turned into the vinyl record of your preference. It would certainly amuse me if my remains could be turned into something that gets peoples hips swinging and swaying at a retro club rave. It would certainly bring a whole new meaning to life after death, that’s for sure.

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  5. Thomas King

    As such some of us tirelessly (which leaving)_should be “while living”. And that great film i refer to but fail to specify is Mr Holland’s Opus

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  6. Thomas King

    Chile seria un lugar excellente para estudiar todas las opciones y para entender mas sobre el topico de energia. Es un pais unico para explorar las ventajas de los 3 grandes, solar, viento y hidro. Amo el concepto de solar pero aqui en NZ no es una posibilidad para nuestra energia. Nos falta el clima ideal para usar los rayos del sol y la tecnologia es cara. Podemos emplear los servicios del viento pero hasta viviendo en la zona del “roaring 40s” el fuente no es fidedigno. La operacion dw hidro no es ideal ni perfecta por el medio ambiente pero es un sistema que tiene una larga historia aqui en NZ. Una decision mejor quizas que combustibles pero al mismo tiempo hidro puede ser muy destructiva a la biodiversidad de los rios, el arroyo del rio y el danyo de nuestras costas. Yo se que hay muchos cientificos que les gustan considerar el desarrollo de un ‘plant geotermal’. Un interesante idea que quizas debemos explorar viviendo en una tierra de Super Volcans. Existen expertos en Chile explorando la creacion de electricidad por el poder de los terremotos? Seria un estudio intrigante pero quizas un desafio dificil para disenyar. Los terrys y Chile es una pareja como Big Mac y fries. Solo mi opinion 🙂

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  7. Thomas King

    I rubbed my ‘puku’. “That” ‘kai’ looks ‘ka pai’, Nana. ‘Ai ne?’ she smiled “your Pop Pop knows how to cook up a good ‘hangi'”. It was’ tumeke’ all right and everyone in the ‘whanau’ agreed that it was the finest grub in the ‘whenua’. Just then a ‘rapiti’ popped it’s head up from out of the tall grass. Perhaps, sensing the lingering scent of pit roasted flesh floating in the air, the terrified rabbit’s eyes dilated and it began to ‘uma’ for it’s furry life. Not, that i was the biggest carny (carnivore) in the long history of our ‘whakapapa’. It was the trays of ‘kumara’ which i was really waiting to tackle whenever they were due to arrive in the ‘marae’. Then I’d really tuck in and pig out. It was a ‘choice’ get together and everyone in the ‘iwi’ felt ‘sweet as’. But it was always like that whenever the ‘tribe’ got together. The ‘waka’ boys, even brought us some ‘mint’ ‘tuna’ to smoke. ‘Bloody mean as’ ‘eh!’. You might be forgiven for having fallen like Alice down a rabbit hole finding yourself in a weirdly warped linguistic Wonderland. As mysteriously enchanting as the preceding account appears this is just one of the many florid and vibrant kinds of Antipodean evolutions of the greatest bastardised tongues on the planet ‘the English language’. Yet, this passage caused my friend an inestimable amount of grief when he turned it in to his English teacher back in the Dark Old Days of the, wait for it… early 1980s. His master was utterly mortified and he wanted the world to be awoken toward his state of disbelief. This time stalled archaic fussy boots used every trick in the academic book to use this playful piece of code switching prose as if he were instigating a witchhunt. The in class torment would have been enough to morally cripple the resolute and sturdier of souls for infinity. However, far from paganising the boy the Old Man was really making the young man a memorable martyr. For eons, we have shunned away from the potential to enthusiastically crow about something that is distinctively ‘home harvested’.Surely, in this period of cultural infusing nothing identifies us more closely with a sense of being or belonging to a land or a race more than the way we speak. My case in point with the prior passage which could only have blossomed in our verbally fecund and fertile shores. Words have taken on such powerful associations that we have become rather well adapted to sensing or at the least hazarding a guess of their origins. Why is it that in most British settled lands that most conquered peoples are collectively labelled by the generic titles of Indians, aboriginals of that most derogatory form of them all native/indigene? And yet, savage as they may have on first inspection appeared, our Maori retained some sense of ‘mana’ (pride) and even were considered competent enough to collaborate upon a nation forming “tiriti’ (treaty/declaration of the state)? At our national inception the Maori retained a romantic essence which other first nation peoples failed to charm the British with. We admired their seamanship navigating all the way from Hawaiiki to their new world, their tribal elite and the immaculate negotiation skills. At the same time the Maori took quite a shine to Pakeha (British) ways and as one historian stated once to me that they might just have been the indigenous equal to a Japan of the South Seas if they had succeeded in repelling the Anglo saxon invaders for long enough. Even when their Imperial fate was a certitude they insisted on multiple accounts of embarrassing the worlds greatest force in several humiliating defeats. This surely brought a wry smile from Britain’s other main adversaries who soon realised that subduing the Maori was not going to be a walk in the park. And as the exchange deepened so did the verbal floodgates burst the lingual river banks. We settlers quickly comprehended the actions of the ‘haka’ (war dance) and swiftly accepted that the Maori were adamant when it came to being in control of their ‘tino rangatiratanga’ (sovereignty) and ‘taonga’. They built mighty ‘pa’ (forts) andwere the inspiring agents behind the concept of trench warfare (something Europeans and the rest of us learned unpleasantly about much later in the World Wars). They believed in the protection of one’s ‘hapu’ (communal family) and the importance of the ‘tapu’ (reverence towards the sacred/ancestors) from where our word ‘taboo’ is derived. White men had never encountered the magical flora and fauna prior to stepping forth upon our shores. They knew not of a kiwi, a kea, a takahe, a pukeko or a kakapo until the Maori informed them of their tribal names. Of course, the Grecification and Latinisation of ornithological species would later arrive but how many of your average Kiwi children I ask you would your know the ‘moa’ by anything other than its Maori name. Or what about that other great institution of the meal where so many English words have found their way into out garden from foreign roots. Yes, come the Spring we could say we’re going to the beach to pick up cockleshells but we’ll just tell you we really call them ‘pipis’. When we tuck into a good old packet of ‘greasies/shark n tatties/fritters n fish’ (fish and chips) you’ll know we’ll be having fish when we tell you that this is awesome ‘hoki’, ‘tarakihi’, ‘hoke’, ‘hake’ or my personal favourite thick juicy fillets of beautifully beer battered ‘warehou’. In the Beautiful South (South Island) we may like to cling on tightly to our English ancestry through the names of historic figures such as Blenheim and Nelson but we too are an ocean of ‘Maoritanga’ (sacred Maori treasures). From the ocean jewels of Kaikoura and Akaroa to the West Coast treasure of Hokitika these were places where Maori interactions amongst themselves and with us forged a number of significant nation building events.To shun the Maori side of our history would be the equivalent to saying that only the perspective of men matters over women, that only the opinions of the rich matter than those of the poor, that the values of the sound bodied mean more than those of the infirm that the ideas and notions of white men matter more than those of the darker complexioned. How could anyone wish to do such a disservice to their cultural and historical sense of national being and worth? When we greet each other on the daily with those friendly phrases of kia ora oe haere mai. When we ‘hongi’ (rub noses to greet) after a sports game or in the club house or that warming ‘powhiri’ (accepting of a greeting) we must embrace we we enter onto a ‘marae’ (Maori hall/communal house). The wealth of Maori expressions flood our bland Anglaisse giving it richness and depth like the pure velvety texture of a smooth creamy gravy or a fragrantly flavoursome textual stew. Why would any civilised and rational bicultural embracing Kiwi feel shame towards such lingual lavishings of excitable originality? Why would we ever contemplate the horrible idea to abolish such exquisite cultural uniqueness? We can clearly be so anti elitist when it comes to ‘renounced pronunciation’ (RP) or BBC Queens talk English and yet we snigger in abhorrence at the bumpkin way we talk. As in the case of our gentle jibing towards the rhotic “rrrrrr-ing” in our Deep South, why do we continue to hold on towards such a fervent cultural cringe towards the Maori ‘korero’ (speech) and Maori-fied English? A Catalan friend of mine from my college days was very interested in the position of Maori here in God’s Zone. Years ago when i honestly shared with him our position which had denied Maori the right to speak their lingua franca since colonial annexation he nodded and comprehended with complete and utter compassion and understand. However the story of the Spanish and British Crown’s view towards forbidding linguistic diversity. There is also the case of the Greek hostility towardsMacedonian in the north along with the long enforced Scottish and Irish elitist position of following the British fiddler and enforce English through reason or force. Try as they may like those fretful French Academy purists sobbing away soaked in cognac in jollie Paris the Maori avalanche of words and expressions entering our speech and writing can no longer be plugged. And this is something to get excited about for these words along with those that grew within the Australasian Corridor of The Tasman Sea are what separate us from an Ocker (Australian). In an age where our accents are constantly confused, our flags are so similar and the fact that we intermingle so closely with them Maori words are often the big hit that we are not a ‘fair dinkum Aussie’. As a teenager, it became fashionable to wear shirts around the world when we travelled which said things such as “No I’m not a convict” or “Baa.. Sheep joke cooking. Yep I’m a Kiwi” and others such as “I support two teams. NZ and anyone who plays Australia”. While playful tongue and cheek humour must we resort to such perplexing self placarding to make our point? When a simple Maori word may stem the cultural confusion? It saddens me who close we came to losing “te reo Maorisl” (the Maori language). The story of the last Alaskan woman passing away in the 90s comes to my mind when i think of the rapid extinction of native tongues swiftly being extinguished from our English Fits All global culture. Taking those lasr Indian words to her final resting place, Marie Smith Jones of the ancient Eyak people serves as a stark and dark reminder of how the globalisation of the European Languages Wave is washing out all other small players that stand in her all the path. Why may I ask would we ever want the same scenario to be the case with our own priceless Maori culture? While other nations are taking a stand to make up for devastation which they had inflicted upon minor cultures, such as the Japanese towards the Ainu of Hokkaido and the government’s of Vanuatu and theSolomon Islands towards their enormous linguistic scope and diversity, we continue to sit on the fence of complacency when it comes to be fully integrated in saving our ONE and only unique tongue. How can we be so ignorantly indifferent and lack the volition to assimilate something which is undeniably OURS? Why do we search to be different while avoiding the obvious element which distinguishes us from other European states and settlements? While those other two Big Fish of the Pacific, the Aussies and the Yanks largely disregard the issue of language we could be a triumphant model for our Pacific brothers and sisters. If we made Maori compulsory we would not only be valuing our culture but showing our resolve against a world which says why do we need linguists when Google Translate is becoming so much more efficient? Haven’t we thought, seen and talked about the world in the European languages for long enough? I often get shivers of excitement when i think of the rise of new economic titans whose national languages aren’t European ones. Will we have to learn Hindi one day or Tagalog? Kiwis shudder i breathe in relief. Recently i have been highly impressed by the effort which Oriental students have made when arriving to study in NZ, many electing to take on Maori papers along with their ESOL ones. When i questioned one diligent boy why he felt compelled to he gave a reply which i hope one day every keen Kiwi will deliver. Addressing me very politely, “Mr King, I wouldn’t feel as if I hadn’t received a truly uniquely Kiwi experience if I didn’t do so (take the course on Maori). Besides my father deals with many Maori in his fishing business.” Those enterprising Maoris had once again succeeded in making a monkey out of another Chaucer lapping, Shakespeare sipping, Keats and Byron breathing colonial crafted Old World boy who for years was taught to see England as home. The commonsense of this Chinese boy was like a gently self praising slap to our slipping sensibilities.Language needs to be seen as more than just a tool. In my humble view the power of languages is that they can enrich us. Why should we learn Maori? Because it is our most defining asset and is an identity which exists no where else on Earth. While we were born to play footy (rugby), tame yachts and make blockbuster films our Maori culture and language, unlike our land, is something that makes us recognisable to the world. In one humorous incident one friend recollected how while trekking through Chile he had encountered a bashful bunch of Chilean guys. However, upon declaring his birth place they were brought to life and enacted out an outstandingly acted out rendition of the “haka” followed by other tags such as Lomu, Kiwi and generously referred to our All Blacks rugby team as “Champions of the World” rather than the more grammatically and time appropriate reference of being the (current) world champions (its clear that embedded in every reserved Chilean citizen a secret hidden poet is just itching to spring out from its epidermal cage whilst passionately yearning to astound us with his or her insightful creative genius). It’s true our team has had considerable international success. But, for those non sport crazed out there it was probably the dance which helps to make our team so well known. A dance which no Englishman in his right mind would do but which our English descendants have freely accepted and embraced. As a final note, I headed an English literally class while my friend was unwell one day. It was in a low decile area filled with many Maori and Pacifika students. As i read from the assigned text a sheepish but brave round eyed Maori boy asked me in front of his peers “Sir, what’s that prom-promlenday word mean?” i looked up stunned by his remark. “You mean, PROMENADE”. “Yeah eh”. “Well” I answered “it comes from French and Latin. In this case it means to walk with deliberation” He looked at me blanked face. I though for a minute and then said “He was doing a ‘hikoi'” (walk/march)”. The boy’s facebeamed. “Why didn’t he just say that Sir?” To which i remarked, “Probably because they haven’t learnt Kiwese, yet.”

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  8. Thomas King

    However the story of the Spanish and British Crown’s view towards forbidding linguistic diversity (“are not the only cases of linguistic repression”) There is

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