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The shakes

Three hours ago, I was just about to hit “publish” on a frivolous blog post when the lateral fault under Christchurch groaned into life, rendering everything else a bit beside the point.I am hoping...

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The art of seismography

Seismography, n. 1. the science of detecting, measuring and recording ground vibrations, especially those from earthquakes. True enough, but I'd like to propose a new sub-definition: 2. writing about...

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Reading Room

Even if it’s true that this photo of the University of Canterbury library shelves tumbled like dominos was by far the worst of the library damage, it’s an image that has stuck in my head these past...

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Front, man

"Some people are easily offended", offered Paul Henry in the first hours after his calculated race-baiting stunt went a bit Evel Knievel at Caesar's Palace, with overtones of Fonzie-on-water-skis....

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A Classical Education: Chapter 4 Going On 5

On Dialogue It is true, my child, that dialogue is how we come to understand the world. By steady question and answer, between the curiosity of youth and the wisdom of age, we approach truth. And yet...

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She loves you, YA, YA, YA!

Up-and-coming New Zealand author Karen Healey first caught my eye via her LiveJournal blog, the magnificently named Attention Rebellious Jezebels. One day, as a consciousness & self-esteem-raising...

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A new (old) sensation

The piece below originally appeared in the January 2011 issue of Metro magazine, billed rather provocatively on the cover as "What's wrong with NZ novels?"I'm grateful for the softening effect of that...

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What was lost

This morning, my older son said “Hey, Jojo! Watch this!” as he playfully piloted a plane into the ground, on his computer, for no reason, just for fun. Completely out of the blue.I burst into tears....

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Sons for the Return Home

Over the years, you have all been so good to me. The last time I asked here for wisdom about moving house, it was on behalf of a two-year-old. Now I’m asking for myself, because this time, the...

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“Glory! Glory! There’s the salt!”

The news that Margaret Mahy has written all her stories – for that is what her death means to us as readers, while for her family it is a whole other dimension of inevitable, unfathomable loss -- came...

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School bully

When the National government introduced National Standards four years ago, I didn’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind was blowing.  I’d been watching our older son acclimatise to public...

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Good as gold

Everyone should have read the book by now. No, not Dirty Politics (although you should have read that too). The other one that came out quietly at the end of last year and has become the silent witness...

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Beware of the Leopard

Democracy is a funny old thing, an exercise in trust. We concentrate expertise and execution into the hands of the few, in the expectation that they will be steered by the will of the many. Hence town...

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Tell You What: A Nonfiction Giveaway!

When Susanna Andrew and I sat down to write our proposal for that old-fashioned thing, a book on paper, we wanted to make the book we wanted to read. What we wanted was to sit down each summer to a...

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A Classical Education: Chapter 4 Going On 5

On Dialogue It is true, my child, that dialogue is how we come to understand the world. By steady question and answer, between the curiosity of youth and the wisdom of age, we approach truth. And yet...

View Article


She loves you, YA, YA, YA!

Up-and-coming New Zealand author Karen Healey first caught my eye via her LiveJournal blog, the magnificently named Attention Rebellious Jezebels. One day, as a consciousness & self-esteem-raising...

View Article

A new (old) sensation

The piece below originally appeared in the January 2011 issue of Metro magazine, billed rather provocatively on the cover as "What's wrong with NZ novels?"I'm grateful for the softening effect of that...

View Article


What was lost

This morning, my older son said “Hey, Jojo! Watch this!” as he playfully piloted a plane into the ground, on his computer, for no reason, just for fun. Completely out of the blue.I burst into tears....

View Article

Sons for the Return Home

Over the years, you have all been so good to me. The last time I asked here for wisdom about moving house, it was on behalf of a two-year-old. Now I’m asking for myself, because this time, the...

View Article

“Glory! Glory! There’s the salt!”

The news that Margaret Mahy has written all her stories – for that is what her death means to us as readers, while for her family it is a whole other dimension of inevitable, unfathomable loss -- came...

View Article
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