Category Archive 'New Zealand'
15 Nov 2016

Cows Stranded by NZ Earthquake Rescued

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stranded

Science Alert has videos.

Helicopter footage captured over the demolished farmlands outside the New Zealand town of Kaikoura has revealed the fate of three cows after Monday’s devastating magnitude 7.5 earthquake.

The three cows – including one very chill calf – managed to huddle together on a small patch of grass, as everything around them crumbled to form a tiny island.

“It was clear that the cows had slipped down on this big chunk of land,” Newshub camera operator Chris Jones explained. “The cattle had obviously ridden these islands of land, and there’s this group of cows suspended 20 feet [6 metres] in the air.”

Jones estimates that the island is between 50 and 80 metres across.

While the trio would not have lasted long stuck on such a small area of grass, their owner counts them as lucky to have found a safe place amid the chaos.

The Kaikoura farmer, who has chosen to remain anonymous, told Newshub he managed to save 14 cows in total (including these three), but did lose a few in the destruction.

“We did lose stock, there were stock losses, but the whole hillside fell during the earthquake and we had a lot of stock on there – we don’t know what we’ve got,” he said.

“It was very steep limestone bluff covered in lovely pasture a week ago and now it’s all in the gully.”

The good news is that while the cows had to stay put for a day while the safety of the area was assessed, they’ve now been rescued, and the internet can breathe a sigh of relief that our favourite cow buddies are in safe hands once again.

Complete story.

01 Oct 2016

The Kākāpō

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kakapo

New Zealand’s flightless, wingless parrot has had its genes thoroughly sequenced. All 123 of them. (Atlas Obscura)

New Zealand has only three native mammals (all bats), and the country is full of birds that have taken advantage of this lack of predators, acting more like rodents or weasels than your average winged creature. Kākāpōs are no exception. Their faces are covered in feathery whiskers, which they drag on the ground to help them navigate. They’re layered with body fat, and astoundingly heavy—the largest males can weigh as much as a housecat.

Their weight keeps them from flying, but they’re adept at climbing trees, scrabbling up the bark with extra-sharp claws and “parachuting” down with their wings outstretched, like hang gliders. Although technically parrots, they’re so far removed from even their closest relatives that they have an entire genus all to themselves. Even their official government information page calls them “eccentric.”

These eccentricities worked well in a predator-free environment. But once humans brought rats and cats to New Zealand, they decimated the formerly thriving population. Ornithologists in New Zealand got serious about the kākāpō in the late 1980s, and set up a government-sponsored Kākāpō Recovery Programme. In the decades since, the Programme has relocated the entire the entire kākāpō population to three small islands, which they’ve cleared of invasive predators. They have collared and named nearly every individual, and keep careful track of the bird’s family tree.

Their efforts have paid off, and the kākāpō population is up to 123, nearly triple its record low. But it’s still difficult to understand these weirdos. For one thing, they’re simply terrible at mating—they only attempt it every two or three years, when the fruit of their favorite tree, the podocarp, is ripe. When they do try, it’s often a bit pathetic. Males will climb the highest hill they can find, dig a hole, lie in it, and make a booming sound until an intrigued female wanders past.

07 Nov 2014

Walking in Aukland

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When 24-year-old aspiring actress Shoshana Roberts was filmed with a hidden camera walking around New York in a plain T-shirt, jeans and trainers she received 108 “catcalls”.

Roberts’ social experiment has spawned many spoof videos since it came out, but recently, a model from Auckland, New Zealand, decided to conduct Roberts’ experiment in her native land.

The results are shockingly different.

Unlike Roberts who was stopped over 100 times, Simpson was only stopped twice. But how she was stopped in these situations were completely different.

The first time Simpson was stopped, an Italian man chased after her to ask if she was from Italy. The man then proceeded to apologize for stopping her. The second time was simply a man asking her for directions.

New York City is home to 8.4 million people, while Auckland only has a population of 1.3 million. That may have something to do with the difference in reactions, but it definitely doesn’t explain all of it. As you can probably tell, there’s just a culture difference at play.

13 Sep 2014

True Marriage Equality in Action

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McIntoshMcCormick
Travis McIntosh and Matt McCormick

The NZ Herald reports that two New Zealanders who aren’t queer were planning to marry yesterday in order to win a radio station competition of some kind with a prize consisting of a trip to the 2015 Rugby World Cup in England.

But some people cling to privilege and don’t like equality.

[G]ay rights groups have condemned the union.

Otago University Students’ Association Queer Support co-ordinator Neill Ballantyne, of Dunedin, said the wedding was an”insult” because marriage equality was a”hard fought” battle for gay people.

“Something like this trivialises what we fought for.” The competition promoted the marriage of two men as something negative,”as something outrageous that you’d never consider”, Mr Ballantyne said.

LegaliseLove Aotearoa Wellington co-chairman Joseph Habgood said the competition attacked the legitimacy of same-sex marriages.

“The point of this competition is that men marrying each other is still something they think is worth having a laugh at …

“Maybe on the day that statistics around mental health for LGBTI (Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender and Intersex) people are better, when high schools are safe places for LGBTI youth, we can look back on all this and laugh.

“But competitions like this don’t bring that day any closer.”

01 Dec 2013

Another Air New Zealand Middle Earth Commercial

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21 Nov 2013

Air New Zealand Safety Video

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Hat tip to Karen L. Myers.

02 Nov 2013

“Anybody Have a Can-Opener?”

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Feeding time at the Orana Wildlife Park, Christchurch, New Zealand.

Via Ratak Monodosico.

23 Mar 2013

Weather Forecast In Elvish

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06 Jan 2012

New Zealand Lottery Faithful Terrier Commercial

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29 Sep 2011

Earliest Surviving Hitchcock Film Found in New Zealand Archive

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Looks like the naughty sister to me.

Roughly half of a 1923 silent film representing the earliest surviving work from Alfred Hitchcock’s pre-directorially-credited career was discovered, after sitting for 22 years in the collection of the New Zealand Film Archive.

The film’s discovery was the result of the American National Film Preservation Foundation‘s efforts to recover lost films preserved by New Zealand collector James Murtagh, which were donated to the New Zealand Film Archive at the time of his death in 1989. New Zealand’s remoteness and the high expense of shipping films caused distributors to treat the island as an end of the road screening destination. Films were sent there last, and were intended to be destroyed, rather than returned, after their theatrical run.

The White Shadow (1923), a melodrama revolving around the conflict between two sisters (both played by Betty Compson), one angelic, one “without a soul,” featured the 24 year-old Hitchcock serving as writer, art drector, assistant director, and editor.

The surviving half of the film was screened last Thursday for cineastes at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Los Angeles

Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences article

LA Times


Long-Lost Hitchcock Film Found

22 Jun 2011

Emperor Penguin Visits New Zealand Beach

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Local man admires visiting Emperor Penguin on Peka Peka Beach on the North(!) Island of New Zealand

For the first time in 44 years, an estimated-to-be 10-months-old Emperor Penguin (Aptenodytes forsteri) waddled ashore on Peka Peka Beach near the bottom of the North Island of New Zealand yesterday, approximately 2,000 miles (3,200 kilometers) from its native Antarctic waters.

The immature Penguin is roughly 31″ tall. Emperor Penguins are the largest Penguin species and can reach 48″.

News reports are indulging in the usual kinds of empty speculation. Reports of the Penguin’s possible thirst (it has been observed to be eating wet sand) are probably not well-founded. Penguins can drink salt water.

The only other confirmed sighting of a wild Emperor in New Zealand was in 1967 at the southern Oreti Beach.

Daily Mail story (good pictures)

ABC story (better information)

1:13 video

18 Dec 2009

Progressive Anglican Church Lampoons Christmas

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The Venerable Glynn Cardy, Vicar of St. Matthew-in-the-city an Anglican parish in Aukland, New Zealand, is undoubtedly a happy camper this holiday season, having attracted round the world news coverage to the “Progressive” statement made by the above billboard he erected in his city’s downtown just in time for Christmas.

The Guardian (Manchester, UK) reports that within five hours of the billboard’s appearance, someone actually connected with Christianity was seen attempting to paint over the billboard.

In the characteristically triumphant and self-congratulatory manner of leftists like himself who have infiltrated their way into roles representing a faith they actually despise, Glynn Cardy dismisses conventional Christianity as fundamentalism and its religious message as “mush.”

To make the news at Christmas it seems a priest just needs to question the literalness of a virgin giving birth. Many in society mistakenly think that to challenge literalism is to challenge the norms of Christianity. What progressive interpretations try to do however is remove the supernatural obfuscation and delve into the deeper spiritual truth of this festival.

Christian fundamentalism believes a supernatural male God who lived above sent his sperm into the womb of the virgin Mary. Although there were a series of miraculous events surrounding Jesus’ birth – like wandering stars and angelic choirs – the real miracle was his death and literal resurrection 33 years later. The importance of this literal resurrection is the belief that it was a cosmic transaction whereby the male God embraced humanity only after being satiated by Jesus’ innocent blood.

The Christmas billboard on a local fundamentalist church sums up this thesis. It reads: “Jesus born 2 die 4 u!” His birth was just an h’orderve (sic) before the main Calvary course.

No doubt on Christmas Eve when papers print the messages of Church leaders a few of them will serve up this fundamentalist thesis wrapped in a nice story.

Progressive Christianity believes the Christmas stories are fictitious accounts designed to introduce the radical nature of the adult Jesus. They contrast the Lord and Saviour Caesar with the anomaly of a new ‘lord’ and ‘saviour’ born illegitimate in a squalid barn. At Bethlehem low-life shepherds and heathen travelers are welcome while the powerful and the priests aren’t. The stories introduce the topsy-turvy way of God, where the outsiders are invited in and the insiders ushered out.

Progressive Christianity doesn’t overlook Jesus’ life and rush to his death. Rather it sees the radical hospitality he offered to the poor, the despised, women, children, and the sick, and says: ‘this is the essence of God’. His death was a consequence of the offensive nature of that hospitality and his resurrection a symbolic vindication.

The Christmas billboard outside St Matthew-in-the-City lampoons literalism and invites people to think again about what a miracle is. Is the miracle a male God sending forth his divine sperm, or is the miracle that God is and always has been among the poor?

Mr. Cardy claims to be lampooning literalism, but he is obviously really using a coarse image to mock and deride the central articles of faith of Christianity, as part of an ongoing project in which Christian beliefs are systematically replaced by those of a 19th century heresy called Marxism.

27 Nov 2009

Another Scientific Scandal

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NIWA published chart showing alleged warming trend

Uh oh! Another of those world famous climate research institutes renowned for issuing dire proclamations blaming human economic activity for terribly harmful patterns of warming weather is in trouble. This time it is New Zealand’s National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA).

The New Zealand Climate Science Coalition just published a paper which took NIWA’s data and made their own graph comparing it to NIWA’s published graph, and what do you know? An ordinary graph of the actual data showed remarkably consistent climate patterns over the last century and a half. Goodbye, Global Warming!

It looks like more climate scientists are going to have some explaining to do.

Hat tip to Watt’s Up With That?


When the same temperature data was charted independently, however, it looked like this

23 Nov 2009

New Zealand Antique Dealer Hopes For Earldom

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Arms of the Duke of Northumberland

A New Zealand representative of the Percy family is attempting to claim the earldom and estates of the ancient Percy family of Northumberland on the basis of a supposititious descent from a male-line overlooked at the time of the death of Josceline the 7th Earl in 1670.

No male heir was discovered at that time, and the Percy estates went to his only daughter, Lady Elizabeth, who married three times, becoming by her last marriage Duchess of Somerset.

Her granddaughter, also an Elizabeth, married Sir Hugh Smithson in 1740, causing him to inherit the Earldom of Northumberland upon her father’s death. Smithson obligingly changed his name to Percy, and received the extinct title of Duke of Northumberland via a third creation in 1766.

Kevin Percy of Napier, New Zealand believes that the commonality of the personal name Thomas, Edward, and Francis between his own (formerly) Pursey family and that of Thomas Percy, great grandson of the 4th earl of Northumberland and one of the principals of the Gunpowder Plot suggests the identity of his own ancestry with one of the cadet lines of the famous Percys of Northumberland.

All of this is explained at a web-page devoted to the Percy family of New Zealand and its genealogical theories.

Mr. Percy hopes that DNA testing of exhumed Percy bodies will be able to prove his own descent from the Gunpowder Plotter and confirm his own theories making him rightful heir to the Percy family titles and estates.

As the Dominion Post (Wellington, N.Z.) reports, were he to be successful, the rewards would be awfully good.

A Napier antiques dealer has claimed that his family are the rightful heirs to one of Britain’s most famous dynasties, which owns the castle used in the Harry Potter movies.

Kevin Percy, 74, believes his family was cheated out of inheriting the Earl of Northumberland’s massive estate, now conservatively valued at $685m.

He has started a bold bid asking British authorities, including the Queen, to exhume the bodies of two suspected relatives for DNA tests, which he says would prove or disprove his claim. The two men died in 1560 and 1716.

His bid targets one of Britain’s most celebrated noble families, which dominated the Middle Ages. The earldom owns nearly 50,000 hectares of land in Britain.


Alnwick Castle

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