Kim Dotcom: suddenly a portly, shady, German entrepreneur becomes a New Zealand folk hero. Or does he? As it becomes clear that there was something dodgy(pdf) about those search warrants, and the charm offensive bears fruit, questions arise. [more inside]
"With respect to landscape design, art, and the quality of spectacle, the picturesque 1,000 acres of Gibbs Farm afford one of the most intriguing, tastefully presented, and well-thought-out private collections of site-specific sculpture of the modern era." - Sculpture Magazine [more inside]
Bowerbirds, a family of 20 species in eight genera, are a fascinating bunch of birds who range from New Guinea and Australia. Some are flashy, others drab, but all are named for the "bowers" (avenues, huts, or towers of sticks; source) that the males craft and decorate to attract a mate. There are regional styles (PDF) in the design of the bowers, and the male Greater Bowerbirds even employ optical illusions. Some, like the Vogelkop Bowerbird, add mimicry vocal to their repertoire of courting methods. Add accidental cultivation to the list of fascinating features of the bowerbirds. [more inside]
Out-of-context-filter: the sometimes dorky, sometimes sweet (and sometimes quite competent) music and videos of New Zealand's Pikachunes. [more inside]
On February 22, , 13 [bus passengers] were crushed by an unreinforced brick building at 603-13 Colombo St. I broke half a dozen bones or so, severed a tendon, spent two months in hospital and six months off work. And I was lucky. Twelve people died. I did not know them, but they forever travel with me.Just after midday, North Carolina native and political scientist Ann Brower boarded the no. 3 bus to Canterbury University. Shortly afterwards, falling masonry from the 2011 Christchurch earthquake trapped her and the other passengers in the bus. She was the sole survivor. Now, nearly a year later, she describes her rescue and her recovery. [more inside]
Kiwi fans of the hit Tanglish song 'Why This Kolaveri Di?' surprise shoppers in Auckland's main square. (Previously).
Tired of the same old renditions of the Christmas Story? Try this video and its prequel, produced in the vein of Spike Jonze's Where the Wild Things Are.
Ross Becker's photographs of Christchurch. The central business district reopens this weekend for the first time since the earthquake (Previously: 1, 2, 3) on February 22, 2011. [more inside]
Skeinz is a yarn store. Their current newsletter is sending out a request for penguin sweaters due to the oil spill off New Zealand. Surprisingly, knitted wear for penguins is not a new thing.
NSFW Rugby - Naked New Zealand Fellows (Action Shot Slideshow from Norway's largest newspaper) [more inside]
The 7th Rugby World Cup begins this Friday in Auckland. The fourth largest sporting event in the world, there will be twenty national teams competing for the Webb Ellis Cup, including such diverse nations as Namibia, Romania and the USA. [more inside]
Four songs shot (and three directed by) Dylan Wiehahn, featuring Australian and New Zealand scenery, and (mostly) music from Australia: Jordie Lane - 'Not From Round Here' | Seagull - 'Company' and 'Tea' | Bon Iver - 'Holocene' (abridged) || Scenery from Tea Tree Lakes, Great Ocean Road (AUS), Queenstown (NZ)
Nancy Wake AC GM, nicknamed "the White Mouse", was an heroic resistance fighter in Occupied France in the period 1940 - 1944 and reportedly the Gestapo's most wanted person. She died yesterday. [more inside]
Lost Hitchcock film partially recovered. Starring Betty Compson as twins, three reels of The White Shadow have been discovered; Hitchcock was credited as the writer, but is considered by some to have been the co-director. It becomes the oldest extant Hitchcock film, and is part of a partially-explored cache of nitrate film help by the New Zealand Film Archives.
Violet Mary Howard survived the Napier earthquake, and lived in Taradale her whole life. The best yet in Toby Morris' 200 people I used to know.
Over the weekend, PBS' website was hacked by a group calling itself "The Lulz Boat", or "LulzSec". The PBS site displayed a story claiming that rapper Tupac Shakur was alive and well in New Zealand. (He's not). The hack was apparently over the Frontline program that aired last week, 'Wikisecrets', which Julian Assange called "hostile". This follows a separate, unrelated breach at Lockheed Martin, also publicized over the weekend. (Previously)
It is a strange, dubious and totally unaccepted moral purpose which holds the whole of the world to ransom.On 1 March 1985, New Zealand Prime Minister Rt Hon David Lange (Previously) addressed the Oxford Union in support of the proposition that "Nuclear Weapons are Morally Indefensible". That speech is online at publicaddress.net (audio, transcript, highlights) and still resonates today. [more inside]
The Honeymoon From Hell. Stefan and Erika Svanstrom had planned a long trip that would start in Singapore in early December and end in China four months later. But things didn't go exactly as planned. They encountered floods, fires, tsunamis and earthquakes along the way.
Split Enz were to New Zealand what the Beatles were to the UK, and like the fabs their legacy is impressive: an endlessly entertaining back-catalogue and some inspiring solo and band offshoots. One of these, Crowded House, captured more of the world's attention, but few in New Zealand would question the priority of the Enz. Which must be why, in 2007, Radio New Zealand made an eight-hour documentary series split over ten podcasts about their fascinating journey from art-folk-classical-prog to New Wave pop mastery: Enzology is essential listening for any Split Enz fan, featuring "excerpts from all the hits and numerous album tracks, plus previously unreleased demos, live recordings and studio out-takes gathered from the band members' personal archives and elsewhere". [more inside]
Listen to this first: Fraction Too Much Friction... and then listen to this while watching the clip: Liquefaction. Damned talented, them Kiwi's.
Eerily calm - Civil Defence New Zealand has released footage of post-earthquake Christchurch.
I've been greatly enjoying the NZ MetService weather blog for a while now. There are posts about cloud formations, weather pioneers, forecasting, and all kinds of other weather geekery. It does have an NZ slant in places but everyone has weather, and the technical information included is fascinating whatever your location. [more inside]
A massive quake ripped through the Canterbury area of the south island of New Zealand this morning.
"And she was like 'oh my gosh I'm going to have the son of God'. And then she was like 'no I can't, I'm not married and stuff.'" The Christmas story, told by Kiwi kids.
In May 2010, New Zealand introduced a new Animal Welfare Code effectively banning the kosher slaughter of animals, or “shechita”. Agriculture Minister, David Carter, rejected a recommendation from advisers that Jewish ritual slaughter of livestock be exempted from animal welfare rules under the Bill of Rights - which provides for freedom of religious practice. The new welfare code had a requirement that all commercially slaughtered animals first be stunned, and forbade the importation of raw kosher poultry. Carter argued the Code was required on humane grounds, citing a study that said the animals suffered pain. A study which Dr Temple Grandin has subsequently criticised. Jewish law prevents stunning on the basis that this is, in fact, cruel to animals. Halal meat in New Zealand is stunned prior to slaughter. The Jewish community contested the Code through the courts as a direct attack on the freedom to practise Judaism in New Zealand. Bans on ritual slaughter inevitably raise the ugly spectre of anti-Semitism. In November, immediately before the case was due to be heard, Carter made an abrupt u-turn. The practice of shechita on poultry was declared no longer illegal while the Government also agreed to negotiate the ban on sheep. New Zealand Jews will still have to import beef from Australia, where shechita is allowed. The reversal raised the ire of animal rights groups, and raised questions about Carter's motivations in considering the ban. Previously.
New Zealand Police announced this afternoon that they believe that all 29 miners missing at Pike River are now presumed dead. After several days of raised and dashed hopes, a second explosion at the coal mine has devasted hopes that the miners could possibly be alive.
Out and Proud - Gay and lesbian personnel from the New Zealand Defence Force talk about their lives. In his 30-year career with the army, Wood has attended conferences with officers from American services. The notable difference is that Wood can stand alongside his partner of seven years, Gerald Johnstone, and introduce him as such.
Rolf Potts will travel through 12 countries in 42 days, with his current location updated here. He intends to do all this with no luggage, no backpack, no man purse -- not even a fanny pack. [via mefi projects]
At 4:35 am local time, a 7.2 earthquake hit just outside of Christchurch New Zealand. Reports are just coming in of power outages, damage, etc. 7.2 is considered a major earthquake.
Campus A Low Hum is an independent, 3-day, DIY music festival, held in a disused agricultural college in New Zealand. Conceived as a "campaign against crap festivals", Campus performances are intimate, stages are multiple, parties erupt spontaneously, school-like group activities are participated in with gusto – and it's happening again next year! [more inside]
A 24-hour website-in-a-day competition with national honours on the line, FullCodePress is currently underway. This is the third competition, and the first with a team from the United States. The competition chooses non-profit organisations, and the teams have 24 hours to build a fully-functioning site. Catch up with the overnight highlights, or see the sites being built by the Codaroos, Code Blacks, or Team USA as they develop. For those not allergic to twitter, cheering and trashtalking here.
Director Guillermo Del Toro has announced that he will no longer be directing The Hobbit, and has made a follow up statement today. Speculation is rife as to what he might work on next, having given up that massive commitment. Some are speculating, based on this AICN interview promoting the movie Splice, that going forwards with his adaptation of HP Lovecraft's At The Mountains of Madness may be on his mind again.
Arise, Sir Peter. Renowned film director Peter Jackson was invested by the Queen's representative in New Zealand yesterday, as a Knight Bachelor Companion of the Order of Merit. Modern Knighthoods are principally a British and European convention, exported to the Commonwealth colonies, and seen by some as a continuation of social class. Labour discontinued them in 2000 in favour of more egalitarian titles (and with associated republican ideals), however they were restored in 2009 by the right-wing National party government, to a mixed reception.
American soldiers wounded in the Pacific War recuperate in New Zealand (and check out the women). American Marines mop up in Guadalcanal. US Marine baseball players put on an exhibition game for New Zealanders, to everyone's apparent bemusement. WWII propaganda films made by the New Zealand Film Unit, curated and digitized by Archives New Zealand. [more inside]
Every year for the past 26 years, the United States has faced off against New Zealand in rugby ... on the ice sheets of McMurdo Sound. [Pages 2, 3, 4] [more inside]
Governments around the globe are opening up their data vaults allowing us to check out the numbers for ourselves. This is the Guardian’s gateway to that information. Search for government data here from the UK, USA, Australia and New Zealand — and look out for new countries and places as they are added. Read more about this on the Datablog. [more inside]
Ryan Strathfield has uploaded hundreds of rock and pop songs from Australia and New Zealand to YouTube, organized by year (full list inside). Here are some favorites, Marcia Hines' Eleanor Rigby, The Boys Next Door's Shivers, The Falling Joys' You're in a Mess, Split Enz' I See Red and Warumpi Band's Blackfella Whitefella. Strathfield focuses on the period 1974-89 but it extends back into the 60s and forward into the 90s. [more inside]
Just Add New Zealanders — a compilation of short-form film, music videos, movie trailers, and interactive promos. Check out the locations section for photos of the world-class scenic beauty New Zealand is famous for.
3 o' clock in the morning, you're buying a pie from the BP station, what must you always do? New Zealand police officer delivers a stern warning on the hazards of thermo-nuclear pies and becomes a Youtube Hit. [more inside]
Legends from New Zealand held that there was a large predator bird, known as pouakai, that was big enough to carry human beings off to its nest or den. Some people associated stories of Pouakai with the giant flightless Moa, extinct in 1773. Others thought it might be another extinct giant bird on the South Island, Haast's Eagle (Harpagornis moorei). The eagle, locally known as Te Hokioi, has been extinct for 500 years, overlapping with the early settlers by some 200 years. There was some speculation that the giant eagle was a scavenger due to partially protected nasal openings, which are benefit to protect nasal cavities when digging into carcasses, analogous to features found on accipitrid vultures. Recent studies have provide there is proof that the Haast's Eagle was a fearsome predator, with talons like tigers and the ability to dive on prey at 80 kilometers per hour (50 mph). [more inside]
The Commons' Photostream from the National Library of New Zealand is a collection of late 19th and early 20th century photography. Includes a selection of stereographs from the collections of the Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington-based photographer William Hall Raine, and panoramas of New Zealand from Robert Percy Moore. There is lots, lots more, and the NLNZ is continuing to update regularly. [more inside]
Sir George Julius's Automatic Totalisator, first used by the public in New Zealand, and quickly taken up by racetracks throughout Australasia and North America (warning hideous HTML), automates parimutuel betting.
New Zealand voters want to smack their children. 1.4 million New Zealanders (87.6% of votes cast) have voted "No" to the question "Should a smack as part of good parental correction be a criminal offence in New Zealand?". Regardless of opinion, this seemingly innocent question has been steeped in controversy. Voters have been confused, ambivalent, and perhaps misunderstood the law. The Prime Minister indicated he would ignore the result, and even the referendum initiators (intent on legalising smacking for corrective purposes) are divided on what the result means, some wanting explicit rights to use wooden spoons. [more inside]
To launch their new "all black" away strip, English premier football side Everton hired a dance troupe perform a "flippant" version of the Maori haka with English lyrics. Ngati Toa, the iwi of the chief Te Rauparaha who penned the haka "Ka mate" performed by the All Blacks, have in the past attempted and failed to trade mark it to prevent commercial use (and misuse), and have had the issue addressed in their Treaty of Waitangi settlement. This follows controversy over the Spice Girls, an alcopop company, Italian models for Fiat, and the Royal Shakespeare Company all performing the haka inappropriately. And Jean Paul Gaultier deploying the moko on models in a French collection. Opinion over the Everton haka is naturally divided. Previously: Lego faced criticism for using Maori names for its Bionicles range, and we talked about the haka and about cultural IP.
Nationally famous (in New Zealand) dance troupe the Real Hot Bitches set the world record for synchronised dance. [SLYT]