The B Word

There seems to be a love affair with the B word in New Zealand education: bullying.

There’s no denying that bullying occurs. That would be like denying breathing keeps us alive. But the use of the word disturbs me in the fact that, from what I have encountered in my professional life, the B word is thrown around a bit too freely and a bit too quickly at things that are not usually bullying.
Read The B Word

7 Years After the 22 February 2011 Quake

Memorials at the CTV site, where 115 people died in the building’s collapse on 22 February 2011. Credit: Joseph Johnson/Stuff

Today is an anniversary date in my life that I could live without.

Actually, it’s so bad that the other day Noel asked me, “Isn’t the anniversary of Grandpa’s passing about this time of year,” the day after that anniversary, and I felt guilty about forgetting that. (My Grandpa passed away on 19 February 2004.)

Last year, I spoke about feeling stuck, like 22 February 2011 is a fixed-point in my timeline, and, like a black hole, the rest of my life slowly spins around it, stuck in its gravity.
Read 7 Years After the 22 February 2011 Quake

After an Election: Our New Government

In my last post about the excitement around the 2017 New Zealand General Election, I (correctly) stated that the outcome could see either National or a Labour / Greens coalition form a Government with the support of king-maker New Zealand First. The final tally of votes rolled in on 7 October 2017, with National losing 2 seats to place them at 56 out of 120 seats and the Labour / Greens grouping gaining those 2 seats to put them at 54 out of 120 seats. What that meant was either one going with New Zealand First (with their 7 seats) could form a majority Government. Interesting times indeed.
Read After an Election

After an Election

Voting by Cle0patra
“Voting” by Cle0patra (Flickr)

Saturday was our General Election in New Zealand, and I personally found it quite exciting that so many people got out to vote — a record number of us voted early! — and that the results are quite close.

Under an MMP system (Mixed-Member Proportional for those of you not in the know) in New Zealand, several parties are elected, ranging in number from 1 member to the maximum of 120 members, and this election delivered a doozy.

Our two major parties — National (conservative) and Labour (liberal) — ended up with no clear majority. In Labour’s case, they would have to do a deal with the Greens (also liberal) to be close to National’s numbers at this point in time.

Neither group — National by itself, or a Labour-Greens coalition — can probably govern alone because they have too few seats to have a majority. In our Parliament, a party usually needs 61 out of the 120 seats to have a majority to govern.

So there are options, interestingly enough, and one party — New Zealand First, led by Winston Peters — holds the king- or queen-maker position. They can go with National, or they can go with Labour-Greens, to form our next Government.

I personally find that really exciting because there are options out there.
Read After an Election

Spring Has Sprung, 2017 Style

It’s been raining a bit this week, so it was nice today to get out and about in the sunshine. Usually on the weekend, I take a walk down to the supermarket and back to get some outside fitness time in.

One of the features along the walk is Northwood Park. It’s a large, 1 block wide by 1 block long park where the Northwood Fair and Aussie Rules Football matches take place. (Woo hoo.) Along Northwood Boulevard — one of the main thoroughfares through our neighborhood, also named Northwood — runs a drainage ditch with a bus stop and pull-over area in the middle.

That drainage ditch is the local hangout for a bird couple. The type of bird is known as a spur-winged plover, and I think they are adorable. (Thank you New Zealand Birds Online for putting a name to the bird.) I’m not sure if it’s the long legs or the cool color scheme or what, but these two birds strike me as, well, neighbors of the feathery kind.
Read Spring Has Sprung, 2017 Style

Aftershocks

I’ve said in previous blogs about the earthquakes we went through in Christchurch and Canterbury and New Zealand that, on the last anniversary (or maybe the one before) that I was “over it”. And it did feel that way until a few days ago.

The earthquake near Mexico City on 19 September 2017, and the images coming out of Mexico, have seemingly triggered anxiety about earthquakes. The last few days haven’t been horrible but they haven’t been pleasant either anxiety-wise.
Read Aftershocks