I Love Dogs

I have always loved dogs.  My first dog was a wire-haired fox terrier called Scotty, whose irritating habit it was to snap up the daily paper as soon as it was delivered and run under the house with it every afternoon.  Guess who had to crawl after him every day after school to retrieve the […]

Trying to Cut the All Blacks Down to Size

Rugby, as we all know, is a tough game – and the contention it generates is not limited to the field itself.  The physical contest on the field is so intense that it is not surprising that collisions occur and injuries are suffered – and those episodes can in turn produce, all too easily, allegations […]

Don’t Saddle the All Blacks with the Burden of Invincibility

My first awareness of the All Blacks was as a nine year-old, when Fred Allen’s 1949 team played the Springboks in South Africa, and a combination of home-town referees and a goal-kicking prop called Okey Geffin consigned the All Blacks to a four-nil whitewash. I am no stranger, then, to All Black defeats.  Every time […]

Kindness and Helen Kelly

In what proved to be her last television interview before her untimely death, Helen Kelly explained that her antipathy to Donald Trump was because he was “so unkind”, and she went on to say “I want people just to be kind.” This was more than simply the dying wish of a good woman.  In identifying […]

Are the All Blacks Special?

In sport, as in the rest of life, success is not always accompanied by applause and approbation.  It can often attract resentment, envy and criticism. Rugby is no exception.  The unparalleled success enjoyed by the All Blacks over such a long period is most often greeted by sports fans around the world with praise, enjoyment […]

Not So Much Fun Now

The American Presidential election has been dominated over recent days by speculation about the mental fitness of the two main candidates.  First, Donald Trump has picked up on a stray remark by Hillary Clinton that she had “short-circuited” a process over her e-mails when she was Secretary of State so as to suggest that “she […]

Why The Despair?

The despair felt at England’s premature departure from the Rugby World Cup is understandable, but also informative. It tells us something significant about the problems facing English rugby, and perhaps English sport more generally. No one doubts that the “pool of death” was always going to pose a major challenge to the England team. That […]

Coercive Control

There seems to be no let-up in the reports coming in from around the world of shocking violence against women. Sadly, the tragic events in Dunedin seem to add a further New Zealand instance to that shameful catalogue. Most cases of domestic violence involve physical or sexual abuse; but increasingly, that abuse is preceded or […]

The Iron Lady

The Iron Lady? May she rust in peace.

Political Ambition Knows No Bounds

Politics is a funny business, sometimes producing unintended consequences, sometimes revealing human weaknesses that would be better remaining hidden. A case in point was the unresolved dispute about the leadership of the Maori party. Few could have imagined that the issue could have produced such a bewildering outcome. The Maori party, like the Greens, had […]