Another Spectrum

Personal ramblings and rants of a somewhat twisted mind


Songs that move me

For no reason that I can think of, today my emotions have been captured by two songs. They are songs I have been familiar with all my life, so why they keep welling up from the back of conciousness all day, I’m not sure.

However, they have very haunting melodies and they move me in the way very few other songs can. Let me share them with you. Enjoy

Pokarekare Ana is a love song written by a soldier during the first world war.

Hine e Hine (Maiden, Oh maiden) is a lullaby by Princess Te Rangi Pai, composed in the first decade of the twentieth century.


The Nyu Zild Challenge

Sometimes I wonder if Kiwis speak English. Here’s a challenge for all you non-New Zealanders. Below is a video clip from YouTube, featuring New Zealander Steven Adams.

Don’t play it yet!

Steven is a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder Basketball team. The clip is an ad for BancFirst, and it includes subtitles for those who have trouble understanding him.

The challenge is to listen to the clip with your eyes closed, and try to understand what Steven says. If you find that too much, I have included his script below the clip. Don’t cheat. Listen first, before reading it. Once you think you understand his message, play the clip again and watch the subtitles. How well did you do?

 Don’t read the script below until after you have listened to the video above 


Kia ora. I’m Steven Adams. I’m a Kiwi dude who has a new bach right here in Oklahoma. Because I’m a bit of a dag, BancFirst has asked me to spin a bit of a yarn with you about what makes them so choice. Tu meke. So I’d better get my A into G. It’s all about one word that means the same all over the world – Loyal. You’d have to be two sammies short of a picnic not to bust a gut to do all your banking with BancFirst. Whether you’re loaded or on the dole, they treat you like relies, they never spit the dummy, and they always put in a hard day’s yakka. So, if you’re a bright spark. you have a geez at them, and if you do, you deserve a chocolate fish. And since they’re in over 50 communities across Oklahoma, you won’t have to take a tiki tour to find them. BancFirst. Loyal to Oklahoma. Loyal to you. Sweet as.



Sexuality unimportant in NZ politics

A recent NZ poll surveyed how a range of the attributes of political leaders would affect the party vote of those polled. The attributes in question were sexual orientation, age, ethnicity, gender, union affiliation and religious beliefs.

The ethnicity and gender, were not significant factors for the majority of those polled, whereas age and strong religious beliefs were.

Attribute Total* More likely
to vote
Less likely
to vote
Don’t know
/ Refused
Of a different ethnicity to you 100 3 8 88 1
Of the same ethnicity to you 100 10 2 87 1
A woman 100 11 3 85 0
Gay (homosexual or lesbian) 100 2 20 77 1
Immigrant to NZ 100 2 34 60 3
Strong links to a union 100 11 32 53 3
Strong religious beliefs 100 7 41 48 3
Over 75 years old 100 4 59 36 1

*In some instances the total may not add up to 100 exactly due to rounding

It’s interesting to observe that only 20% of voters would be influenced negatively by a political leader being gay, whereas 48% would be influenced negatively by the leader having strong religious views. It’s pleasing to see that one’s ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation will have little bearing on one’s political standing.

I am surprised by the fact that being an immigrant might affect one’s chances at the polls. We are somewhat more xenophobic than I thought. Thankfully our constitution does not prohibit immigrants standing for the top political job in this country.

I wonder how these results compare to other parts of the world?

The survey was conducted by Research New Zealand using a nationally-representative sample of approximately 500 New Zealanders over 18.


X Factor NZ Judges fired.

I’m not one to follow shows such as X factor,  NZ Idol or the voice, but the wife is a fan, She especially called me into the TV lounge to watch an announcement on tonight’s episode of X Factor New Zealand that two of the judges had been fired.

The two judges, husband and wife team Natalia Kills and Willy Moon were fired after Kills’ tirade over the appearance of one of the contestants, who she claimed was ripping off her husband’s identity. Whether or not you agree that it’s a rip off (i don’t, he simply looks like someone wearing a suit), isn’t imitation a form of flattery in the entertainment industry?

Controversy is one way to ensure improve ratings, but apparently Hills’ comments were too much for MediaWorks who fired them five hours before tonight’s show. Chief executive Mark Weldon made this statement:

“Last night on X Factor both Kills and Moon made comments that were completely unacceptable. While the judges on X Factor are expected to provide critiques of the performances, we will not tolerate such destructive tirades from any of the judges. Contestants put their all into this competition and they should expect to receive feedback and criticism that is professional and constructive. We no longer have confidence that Kills and Moon are the right people to perform the role of X Factor judges and they will leave the show, effective immediately.”

Natalia Kills tirade:

Hills’ tirade was was as bad as a fundamental Christian might rage against an atheist, or a religion hating atheist might rage against Christianity. That is not the way to win friends and influence people. Personally, I feel such outbursts are never appropriate. Disapproval could have been conveyed more effectively in a reasoned and polite manner.


Wealthy White girls don’t have sex?

School girls in Year eight (about the age of 12) are offered a free vaccination against HPV (human papillomavirus). HPV is the most common sexually transmitted diseae, and is known to be a factor in cancers of the cervix, anus, vagina, throat and, in men, the penis.Vaccination_of_girl

It’s believed that about half of NZ girls are sexually active by the age of fifteen, and about 80% of the population will get HPV at some point in their lives. Usually it clears up by itself, but where it lingers, it can lead to cancer.

Normally vaccination rates are higher in the wealthier Pakeha and Asian populations and lower in poorer Maori and Pacific Islanders. But vaccinations for HPV have bucked this trend. The highest consent rate has been for Pacific Island girls where 71% are vaccinated. On the other hand only 52 % of Pakeha girls receive their parents’ consent.

When looking at schools by decile, low decile schools have a 74 consent rate compared to a 54% consent rate in high decile schools.


A Massey University researcher believes it is because wealthier Pakeha parents do not believe their daughters have sex.

Are wealthy parents living in cloud cuckoo land? Do they really believe that their daughters won’t succumb to the same temptations as any other red blooded kiwi girl? All they need to do is to think back to their own teen years to realise that is a fallacy.

Wake up NZ. a 58% vaccination rate for HPV is not acceptable.


Batten down the hatches.

Cyclone Pam is heading our way. When it passed over Vanuatu it was a category 5 cyclone with winds up to 340 Km/hr (211 mph) destroying almost everything in its path.

Fortunately there’s a lot of cool ocean between Vanuatu and NZ so it should reduce in significantly in intensity. Never the less, the MetService is warning of gale force winds and that the sea may rise by as much as 3.5 m (11.5 ft) and 5 m (16.5 ft) tomorrow.

Similar storms in the past have caused land slips and heavy flooding due to the very heavy rain of a large area, swelling rivers and streams which are unable to drain quickly due to the high seas.

While grateful that the storm is likely to track down the east coast avoiding damage in my locality, I will really miss not being able to enjoy the adrenaline rush I always get during such events. I’ve never taken mind altering drugs, but I doubt they could ever produce anything so exhilarating as a really good storm. If I’m destined to end my life violently, let it be due to a cyclone.

As much as I would have liked to include a weather animation here, WordPress won’t allow me to do so. The best I can do is this link: The weather tracked in real time


The day the House broke into song

While I was looking for suitable clips for my previous post I came across this moving clip of the scene in the Parliament immediately after the passing of the Definition of Marriage bill in 2013. NZ had allowed gay civil marriages since 2005, but the passing of this bill gave exactly the same rights to gay marriages as heterosexual marriages. The song Pokarekare Ana is a love song known by practically all Kiwis.


New Zealand 6, Australia 0

Over the last week I seem to have come across an unusually large number of blogs discussing the oddities of the English language. So here is my little contribution to the discussion relating to regional dialects.

Most English speakers from outside the antipodes are unable to distinguish the difference between New Zealand and Australian English. But there are differences, particularly in vowel shifts. In Australian English (Strine) The “I” sound in hit has moved to sound more like heat. In New Zealand English (Nyu Zild), Vowels have moved further but in the opposite direction, resulting in hit sounding more like hut.

Nyu Zild has also seen shift in “e” in red and pen so that it sounds like rid and pin to British and American speakers. A similar shift has occurred with the “a” sound as in mat and sad sound like met and said.

So If I were to say “Peck the pack of pickles“, an American might hear “Pick the peck of puckles“. If I said “Fix the bit that’s bent” they might hear “Fucks the but thets bint“.

A New Zealander can sound like Lyn of Tawa:

Or like Member of Parliament Maurice Williamson during his speech supporting the the final reading of the Definition of Marriage Bill:

Oh what a beautiful sound!

So what’s the relevance to the Title of this post?

A Kiwi was driving on an Australian motorway, and noticed some graffiti on a overpass, which read NZ sux (New Zealand sucks). A few days later, he passed under the overpass, but now someone had added AUS nil. Get it?


The Aftermath

This post is part three of a series on the development of my religious beliefs from childhood in the 1950s and 1960s to the present day.The previous posts are Part 1: Worship and other secrets, and Part 2: The day God spoke to me. This post describes what happened in the days following the episode described in part 2.

I was so moved at what I had experienced, that I was bursting to tell someone – anyone. So I did. Perhaps I was somewhat naive, but I certainly did not expect the derision I received from my peers. Being surrounded by twenty or so school kids pointing and taunting and falling about laughing is not the most pleasant experience. Finally one class mate quietly took me to one side and she explained that there are some things that are better kept to oneself, and this was one of them. I think Janet was the only child that understood that I didn’t process social interactions in the way other kids did. It was from her that I learnt that it’s often necessary to select very carefully which battles are worth fighting and which battles are better to walk away from. For that I am very grateful. She had wisdom well beyond her seven years.

I decided my mother would be be more understanding. When I told her that God had spoken to me, her response of “That’s nice dear”, while turning back to continue with preparing dinner, I understood that it was a conversation she didn’t want to participate in – much like when one of my siblings tried to engage her in conversations with his imaginary friend. At that time my mother was the only person I was moderately successful at reading social cues from voice tone, body language and by what was not said.

Surely my Sunday school teacher would understand, so I resolved to tell her about on the next Sunday. However, a classmate got in first and blurted out that I claimed that God had spoken to me. The Sunday school teacher looked at me very sternly. What had I done wrong this time?
Teacher: Have you been telling lies about God speaking to you?
I most certainly was not telling lies.
Me: No
Teacher [peering over the top of her glasses and looking even more stern]: Barry, have you been telling people that God spoke to you?
I found that question more difficult to answer. My first inclination was to answer “No” again. I had told the story five days ago, but not since. Her use of “Have you been telling” meant that I was continuing to tell the story, which was not the case, so a negative response would be appropriate. Experience had taught me people don’t always mean exactly what they say. Perhaps she really meant “Did you tell“, in which case “Yes” would have been appropriate. I pondered my options for a moment, then decided the best option was not to answer the question, but to make a simple statement of fact that should avoid confusion.
Me [with hesitation]: I haven’t told anyone since Tuesday.

Apparently I goofed… again. I realise now that my delay in answering and the words I chose was tantamount to an admission that I had lied the previous Tuesday. I then received a lecture as to why lying was a sin, and lying about God was an even greater sin.  Finally came the message that it was necessary for me to confess my sin if God was to forgive me. This I refused to do.

Let’s just say it went downhill from there. I never went back to Sunday school again.

What did I learn from the experience?

  • Personal experiences shouldn’t be shared with others
  • I’m going to be misunderstood irrespective of how carefully I choose my words
  • Delay in responding to a question equals lying in the eyes of adults
  • Sunday school teachers don’t know much, and what they do know is wrong
  • Be very, very careful who you identify as friends
  • The God I know and the God in the Bible are not one and the same
  • Mothers don’t always know when you are telling the truth

The Sunday school teachers had made it very clear that anything and everything about God could be discovered in the Bible, and in fact it was the only source of knowledge about God. Curious, I started a secretive reading of the Bible stating from Genesis. More about this in the part  of this series.


The oldest profession: what’s its status?

Although midwifery is probably an older profession, everyone knows what is being referred to when mentioning the “world’s oldest profession“, and that’s prostitution. So how is prostitution faring these days? It really depends on where you look.

In most parts of the world prostitution is illegal. Penalties range from fines to life imprisonment. Again, depending where you are, the penalties will apply either to the seller, the purchaser, or both. However, the illegality of prostitution in these counties has had little, if any, effect in stopping the practice. The most noticeable effect is that prostitution is controlled by the criminal world.

Some other countries have taken another approach and while not criminalising prostitution itself, criminalise activities around prostitution, such as soliciting, running a brothel and living of the earnings of a prostitute. In these countries too, organised crime are big players in the sex industry.

A few, a very few, have decriminalised prostitution. New Zealand has probably the most liberal prostitution laws of any country. These were liberalised in 2003 and although some religious groups were predicting our streets would become awash with sex, debauchery and organised crime, little has changed except sex workers are protected by our employment laws.

There has not be a rise in the number of sex workers. In fact there may have been a small decline as it is now much easier to leave the industry. And because prostitution is not criminalized, there is little room for the criminal underworld to manoeuvre.

The Prostitutes Collective have a web page summarising the current law, and there is an interesting,  2007 Report on The Impact of the Prostitution Reform Act on the Health and Safety Practices of Sex Workers (213 page PDF document) carried out by the University of Otago in 2007, if you’d like dig a little deeper.

While I’m not condoning prostitution in any way, from the evidence I have seen, I believe decriminalisation is the least harmful method of dealing with it. What’s your view?