Thursday, December 22, 2011

Vicious Sex Attack on Child At NZ Campsite

(For an update to this story read Belgian Girl’s Rapist Has “Gang Connections” – “Killah”)

We’re shocked to hear that yet another tourist has been seriously assaulted in a campervan in New Zealand.

What makes this particular crime all the more disgusting is that this time it was a five year old Belgian tourist that was severely beaten and subjected to a vicious sexual attack after being bashed unconscious. A heinous and contemptible crime perpetrated against a defenseless child.

One of the police officers working on the case said it was the worst he’d seen
It is the worst attack I have seen in my 28 years of police service.
“It was a vicious attack on a defenceless five-year-old girl. You don’t get too many offences which are too much worse than this.”
Our thoughts are with the girl’s family, who are said to be on dream holiday of a lifetime from Europe, and we wish her a full and speedy recovery from her ordeal.

The British press is bound to draw comparisons to the abduction of 3 year old Madeleine McCann, whose parents left her sleeping in a holiday resort in Portugal.

The family arrived at Club Habitat on Ohuanga Road, Turangi yesterday (street view below) and the assault took place last night between 10.10 and 10.40 whilst the child’s parents were just metres away in an amenity block. The girl and her three year old brother were left alone and sleeping in the van at the time.

Police are not releasing details of the family or their country of origin but they did tell reporters that there had been a burglary at the camp the previous night.

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Unfortunately, even though New Zealand strives to maintain has a safe image abroad there have been a significant number of assaults, rapes  and robberies of campervan tourists in the last few years. Sadly it was just a matter of time until a child was attacked.

Crime against foreign nationals in New Zealand is something that we write about regularly, take a look at our blogs tagged campervan to see numerous other incidents. Sadly it seems that the message still isn’t getting out about New Zealand and its high crime rates and violence against tourists.

High Rates of Child Abuse Deaths

Many tourists fail to realise that far from being safe for children, New Zealand is ranked joint third in the world by UNICEF for the highest number of  child maltreatment deaths (1.2 per 100,000 children) only the US and Mexico have more  See our Facts and stats pages (above) for more information.

The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office has issued the following advice for travellers to New Zealand. Perhaps it is time for them to be more specific about the types of violent crime and follow the lead of the Dutch government after a honeymooning couples were raped at a campsites in Tuatapere and Haruru Falls, so that people may be better informed.
Safety and Security – Crime

Street crimes occur in major urban areas. Reports of thefts from unattended vehicles, especially hire cars/camper vans in major tourist areas (e.g. the Coromandel Peninsula, Rotorua and Queenstown) have increased. There has also been an increase in the number of thefts from hotel rooms in some tourist areas. Do not leave possessions in unattended vehicles even if out of sight in a locked boot. Do not leave valuables in hotel rooms, but use safe boxes when available. Keep passports, travellers’ cheques, credit cards, etc separate. See our Victims of Crime Abroad page.
A NZ police media statement gave the following information about the Club Habitat assault
Child seriously assaulted at holiday park
Thursday, 22 December 2011, 1:19 pm
Press Release: New Zealand Police
Child seriously assaulted at holiday park
A five-year-old girl is in a serious but stable condition in hospital after being attacked last night at a holiday park in Turangi.
The girl is currently touring New Zealand with her parents and brother in a hired ute and caravan. Yesterday afternoon they arrived in Turangi and booked into Club Habitat on Ohuanga Road, Turangi.
Last night the girl’s father was in the amenity block just metres away from the caravan. At approximately 10.10pm the mother also walked across to the amenity block leaving the two children asleep inside the caravan.
When she returned at approximately 10.40pm she found the caravan door locked and through the window saw a man inside.
She ran to get her husband and when they returned the caravan door was open, the man was gone and their daughter was lying seriously injured in her bed.
She has serious injuries mainly to her head and face and has undergone surgery at Waikato Hospital.
An investigation is underway, headed by Detective Inspector Mark Loper. ESR are in Turangi carrying out a full scene examination. Officers from Waikato are currently assisting with interviews with the parents.
Detective Inspector Mark Loper said: “This is a vicious attack, and the fact that it is on a five-year-old tourist just days before Christmas makes it all the more appalling. It is vital that anyone who has the smallest piece of information that might help this investigation comes forward as soon as possible.”
The family are visiting from Europe. Police will not be more specific at this stage as the family need some time to notify relatives back home before any further detail is released.
Other Recent Turangi Crime Stories

Hunter who killed camping teacher to get early release – man hunting illegally at night, shot schoolteacher in head at campsite. He is released after serving just 11 months in prison.
Police seek thugs – elderly man beaten by burglars a few weeks ago
Man accused of attacking Turangi policeman in court -Motorist punched police officer unconscious in an assault on SH 1
Smuggler jail guard ‘felt sorry’ for inmate – prison warder smuggled drugs in to Tongariro-Rangipo Prison prison

Other Tourist Attacks in New Zealand

Chilean Tourist Robbed, Loses Life’s Work
Te Anau Troubled By Tourist Attacks
Honeymoon Couple Lose Precious Photos, No ‘Gold Medal’
Czech Tourist, Jan Fakotor, Stabbed In Motueka
English tourist mugged in Gisborne
Chilean tourist punched, robbed in Nelson
A group of students that were beaten and robbed whilst on a treasure hunt at the Hundertwasser toilets in Kawakawa, Northland
A series of random, unprovoked attacks in Queenstown
Previous robbery of British tourists at Kerosene Creek
Tourists robbed at Kerosene Creek
Three French tourists beaten and robbed in their campervan in Mangamuka, Northland - police have yet to resolve this crime

A family of Swiss tourists that were assaulted and racially abused in Kaitaia, Northland
Anke Kuballa and Marc Busch from Germany who were robbed in Whangarei, Northland
A family of five robbed at the roadside whilst camping in their van at Oturere Stream, 25km south of Turangi
Two German tourists attacked in Paihia, Northland
Two American tourists were robbed at Shipwreck Bay in Northland whilst sandboarding
Asian woman, (probably Japanese) age 22, raped in her room by 2 teenagers in a home invasion in Opotiki, Northland

Three Chinese tourists attacked and robbed at Te paki, 90 Mile Beach, Northland, by two men they’d stopped to help
French tourist Anthony Cressend, beaten and robbed at campsite in Ahipara, Northland
Two Australian tourists robbed at knifepoint for their holiday money in Te Puke, SE of Tauranga.
Japanese tourist age 23 (female) kidnapped, robbed and assaulted in Rotorua by four men
French tourist (male) raped at gunpoint near Opotiki,

American peace corp twins Adam and Alex Rahmlow, 21 were robbed of all their possessions by a man they tried to help in Amberley, Christchurch.
Dutch couple raped and robbed on a campsite in Tuatapere, NW of Invercargill, whilst on their honeymoon. (Dutch govt. issued a travel warning about NZ)
Two Koreans were attacked and robbed of their possession which included a laptop computer by a man claiming to be a gang member in Blenheim.
British tourist worker sexually assaulted near Hururu Falls, Northland when she was dragged off a walking track.
Canadian tourist Jeremie Kawerninski, kidnapped, assaulted and robbed in Lower Hutt, Wellington
Dutch couple robbed and sexually attacked Haruru Falls, Northland whilst on honeymoon.
Two British women robbed and raped in their campervan at Tokomaru Bay, north of Gisborne.
Japanese tourist subjected to a prolonged and brutal sex attack in a communal area of a backpacker’s hostel in Turangi, Taupo.
Scottish woman Karen Aim brutally murdered by a youth in Taupo.
German woman Birgit Brauer murdered near New Plymouth.
Korean man Jae Hyeon Kim decapitated with a spade by white supremacist.
Japanese tourist robbed at gunpoint in Oamaru.
Irish cycle tourist Paul Mack bashed, robbed and urinated on throughout his NZ tour.
6 English and Danish tourists attacked and stabbed in Cashel Mall, Christchurch for having “foreign accents.”
Irish man Robby O’Brien beaten up in Westport.
Russian couple Denis Khotchenko and Lera Nesterova beaten and robbed in Milford, Auckland
English woman knifed and sexually assaulted in a toilet block at an A1 motor camp in Kaikoura
American campers Patrick Dykstra and Kelsey McGinley beaten and robbed at Whangarei Falls, Northland.
Australian tourist sexually assaulted on a street in broad daylight in Nelson.
Australian tourist subjected to a sex attack by Maia Crawford Rongonui whilst walking home to a backpackers in Christchurch.
Canadian tourist left with a fractured skull outside Silver Fern backpackers in Taupo.
Dutch tourist beaten and robbed at Lake Rotorua.
British man Paul Speakman and his young son beaten and robbed in a campervan at Athenree Gorge, Katikati.
Chinese woman attacked for speaking Chinese on a train approaching Petone.
Scottish visitor Stuart Martin who was left in a coma and with a boot print on his face after a street bashing in Taradale, Christchurch.
Today's posts - click here

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Murder Of British Woman Jacqueline Blackbourn, Trial Underway

The trial of the man accused of the murder and rape of British immigrant, Jacqueline Blackbourn, got underway at Auckland Crown Court today. The man has already pleaded guilty to a charge of arson.
The Crown said in its opening statement that Jacqueline had been raped, strangled and stabbed to death before being set alight in her Glenfield home.

A knife had been plunged into her chest with such force that it when through her sternum. Siobhan Buckley told the court that Jacqueline's boyfriend could not accept the fact that their two year relationship was over and was "relentless in his attempts" to get her back.

A former girlfriend of the accused was in tears when she told about three incidents in which
"household items were smashed and she was physically or verbally assaulted.
After one dinner party she said the accused went "absolutely crazy", dragging her down the hallway before pushing her up against the kitchen bench and putting his hands around her throat.
"I thought he was going to kill me for sure. I was terrified really," she said.
Under cross-examination, the woman admitted that she hadn't called police or sought medical attention after the incidents.
"I'd say nine out of 10 women who get beat don't go to police," she told the court..." source
Ms Blackbourn was found in her burning house in Glenfield, North Shore in June 2010. At the time of the accused man's  arrest, news reports said a 28 year old man had appeared in court and
Police said that Ms Blackbourn, 43, suffered a violent death inside the View Road, Glenfield, house on the night of June 26. Police said the man, who has interim name suppression, was also charged with historical offences that related to another female complainant.  These included injuring with intent to injure, assault with intent to injure, assault with a weapon and intentional damage...
...Ms Blackbourn came to New Zealand from England 20 years ago.”
In our blog of 30 June 2010 we reported that the NZ Herald said that Jacqueline had recently split up with her partner, Steve Ellis. He was severely burned in the fire was found outside the property wearing only his underpants. Her former boyfriend, Karl Hawthorne, told reporters that Ms Blackbourn:
“worked in the accounts section of Harvey Norman at Wairau Park, was “the life of the party” and loved dancing, Mr Hawthorne said.
She missed her family, who were all overseas.
“She was really close to her mum,” he said. “There wouldn’t have been two days go by that she wasn’t in contact with her.”
Another friend, Margie Cardwell, described Ms Blackbourn as an “English rose”. “She was really feminine and girly, looked quite young for her age. She had a heart of gold.”
Ms Blackbourn’s brother, Tommaso Cerullo, yesterday left a heartfelt message for her on a social networking website.
“Rest in peace my darling sister. Love you and always will. You will never be forgotten in my heart or soul, miss you so much.
“To all the people that had the pleasure of having their heart lifted by her kindness and her smile, thank you for being there for her.”
Detective Senior Sergeant Kim Libby, of North Shore CIB, said police officers hoped to speak to Mr Ellis in the next couple of days.
His injuries were not life-threatening, he added.
They would continue combing the scene of the fire today. A post mortem examination has been carried out on Ms Blackbourn, but police have declined to reveal the cause of death, saying only that it was violent.”
Our deepest sympathies are again extended to Jacqueline’s family and friends for their terrible loss. Our thoughts are with you all in the difficult days that lie ahead during the trial.
Domestic Violence a problem in New Zealand
Far from being the safe haven it wishes to present to the world, life in New Zealand is a misery for hundreds of thousands of women, a third of them have been affected by domestic violence at some time during their lives.
New Zealand has an appalling record for domestic violence and some of the highest preventable child death stats in the developed world.  After a spike in referrals to Women's refuges after the shock of the All Black defeat in the 2007 Rugby World Cup, refuges were on standby for an influx if New Zealand lost again in 2011.
NZ’s appalling record for domestic violence is shamed by an international human rights group
"Police statistics show a 15% increase in the number of family violence incidents and offences in 2007-08, with more than 86,000 reports made. They say family violence affects a third of all women during their lifetime and that 45% of murders in New Zealand are family violence-related.
Meanwhile, a second report calling for an overhaul of systems to keep women and girls safe is being presented alongside the New York findings. The report, by a newly-formed local group called the Roundtable of Violence Against Women, says certain types of violence and victims are being overlooked. This includes prostitutes who come from countries known for trafficking, such as Korea, Thailand, Eastern Europe and the Philippines.
It also highlights the "serial abuse" of many immigrant women, saying both Women's Refuge and the Shakti Community Council have evidence that men are using women's residency status to exploit them and keep them in abusive relationships..." April 2009 source
For more read our blogs tagged violence against women.
Today's posts - click here

Monday, September 26, 2011

Migrants Tales – After 9 Years In NZ The Hour Strikes

Continuing in our series of Migrant Tales – first had accounts of the immigrant experience of New Zealand taken from locations around the net.

Today’s tale was first published on the expat forum for people in New Zealand  – and it tells the sad tale of 9 years hard work snatched cruelly away, without recompense or compensation.

The author is a highly qualified  first class honours graduate. He is a  professional music teacher, performer and composer, runs his own piano school and is presently working on a concerto.

The hour strikes
" Today after 9 years in New Zealand I received a compliance notice to leave New Zealand by the 29th of October 2011. Although it even fills me with relief and joy that I finally see Europe again, the consequences are terrible. Everything I have built up will be taken away from me. All the work I have done given to locals, who have denied me any credit for 9 years and have made these 9 years the most horrible in my life.

Time to reveal my real identity: www.****
It is absolutely disgusting how they do this, after everything they have done in these past 9 years, most of it in this thread, and where I against all odds finally have succeeded in building up a fully booked teaching studio.
 Of course I know they still offer this little glimpse of hope that if I only bow down on my knees, my head kissing their shoes, whether I please, please can stay here, but I want to resist that temptation.

I will have to leave without being able to move the things back I need for my work back home, without being able to sell the boat I am living on. And they will steal it, as they have robbed me for 9 years on end. And when home I will have to start all over again…."
For more migrant tales from New Zealand click here

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Saturday, September 24, 2011

UARS Real Time Tracking, Wise Men On Standby @ Eden Park

NASA’s UARS (Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite) is due to burn up or fade away sometime Saturday Australasian time.

Although most of the debris is likely to hit either ocean or uninhabited areas, spectators at tomorrow’s England v. Romania and All Blacks v. France matches may strike lucky and see a fireworks spectacular to rival that of the opening night in Auckland, without the wakas of course.

You can watch the real time tracking of UARS and draw its orbit at

No confirmation yet of prophecies proclaiming this is the bright star heralding the arrival of Jesus the All Black at Eden Park.

THREE WISE MEN are said to be standing-by, ready to shoulder barge their way through the crush and play homage.

Today's posts - click here

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Pacific Islands' World Cup

Auckland's already congested transport system came to a shuddering halt yesterday and there was dancing on the motorways as Tongans turned out in their thousands to welcome their rugby world cup squad to New Zealand. The team responded to a rapturous reception at Auckland airport by performing a 'haka':

It followed a similar display from the Samoans when they arrived earlier:

With so much local community support for the Pacific Island teams there's every chance that Tonga , buoyed by the support of their fans will shake up the ABs at the opening match of the tournament.

It should  all start with the Tongan challenge that usually  puts the AB's choreographed, sometime prosaic, Ka Mate in the shade (please, no Kapa o Pango there are children watching)

Unfortunately there is talk of the Tongans holding back from performing their sipi tau, a form of the Kailao, because of the face-off it caused with the All Blacks at the 2003 world cup (below)

Not a chance, we don't see that happening, this is just pre-match psychology: ensuring that the grateful  crowd is sure to erupt with joy if they do perform it.

Pacific Island leaders are already in the country attending their forum, which was very neatly arranged to end just as the tournament begins and we're waiting to see who will be the 'mystery NZ sporting legend' putting in an a appearance at the RWC opening ceremony (how many internationally recognized celebs does NZ have, even of the sporting variety?)

In common with many latter-day NZ celebs he has been given name suppression, but whisperers say it's Jonah Lomu - a famous Tongan sporting celeb, who used to play for the All Blacks.
The Sydney Morning Herald commented
An estimated 7,000 New Zealand-based Tongans mobbed the team, making this tournament seem even more like a Pacific Islands World Cup.
Reminding us all that New Zealand, which often tries to place itself an influential player on the world stage, is still firmly part of the Pacific Island community.

You may also be interested in

Song: Sipi Tau

Tonga College students performing a kailao for the King's 70th birthday (1988)
ʻEi e!, ʻEi ē!
Teu lea pea tala ki mamani katoa
Ko e ʻIkale Tahi kuo halofia.
Ke ʻilo ʻe he sola mo e taka
Ko e ʻaho ni te u tamate tangata,
ʻA e haafe mo e tautuaʻa
Kuo huʻi hoku anga tangata.
He! he! ʻEi ē! Tū.
Te u peluki e molo mo e foueti taka,
Pea ngungu mo ha loto fitaʻa
Te u inu e ʻoseni, pea kana mo e afi
Keu mate ai he ko hoku loto.
Ko Tonga pe mate ki he moto
Ko Tonga pe mate ki he moto.
Ko Tonga

English Translation by Sione Ngahe

Aye, ay! Aye, ay!
I shall speak to the whole world
The Sea Eagles is famished unfurl.
Let the foreigner and sojourner beware
Today, destroyer of souls, I am everywhere
To the halfback and backs
Gone has my humanness.
Hey! hey! Aye ay! Zap.
Maul and loose forwards shall I mow
And crunch any fierce hearts you know
Ocean I drink, fire I dine
To death or victory my will is fine.
That's how Tonga dies to her motto
To her motto Tonga gives all.
source Wikipedia
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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Killing Ski Fields

Last season we blogged about a number of snow and glacier fatalities in New Zealand, the majority of them involving falls from height, some of them on to hard or  rocky ground.  Read some of the reviews on Snow (scroll to bottom for excerpts)

If you're planning a ski or winter sports holiday to New Zealand this may be of interest to you.
This season is turning about to be the same as last year's with two separate fatalities in 24 hours, followed by a serious injury. Last year there were at least three deaths on Mount Hutt alone.

On Friday a Dutch skier, 38 Abraham Klaarenbeek, died on Mount Ruapheu, central North Island, when he collided with a pole and ladder beneath a life operator's shed on the Whakapapa skifield. It's not know if there was any netting or other protection around the building. An official Occupaional Health and Safety investigation is now underway.

Then a 29 year old Australian man from Sydney, Tim Stone, died whilst snowboarding at Mount Cheesman, near Christchurch in the South Island. Reports say he slid down an icy slope and into a stony riverbed.

There was a third accident. which fortunately didn't result in a fatality. Yesterday a 29 year old woman slipped and fell more than 20 metres at Ruapheu's Happy Valley. She was thought to have rib and spinal injuries and was airlifted to hospital.

One of the most tragic deaths last season was that of a high achieving student at Columbia College, American Rachel Swett, who died from complications following skiing accident on Mount Hutt in June.. Rachel slid 130 metres over rocks. Her parents have pushed for helmets to be made compulsory on New Zealand ski fields, something that was supported by the coroner.

Her death was followed by that of 60 year Arthur Richardson. He perished when his car left the Mount Hutt access road as he was travelling home after a days’ skiing. His body and the wreckage of his car were found by a search party sent out to look for him after he failed to return home.

However, the wearing of helmets still won't prevent other life threatening injuries. More needs to be done to improve safety on the ski slopes of New Zealand. most of which are no more than scree slopes with rocks just beneath the surface.

Mark Woods, and independent ski-area expert said more signage could have been placed on the route that Swett and her friends took, showing an intermediate ''blue'' run becoming an advanced ''black'' run.
''As a principle, it should not be possible to transfer from easier terrain to more difficult terrain. Blue runs should not lead to black runs.'' source
A while ago the Coroner urged that Coronet Peak enhance its avalanche hazard signage and fencing in the upper Greengates area. His recommendation followed the death of Queenstown snowboarder, Ryan Manu Campbell,  in an avalanche outside the ski area boundary a year previously.

In September 2009 Stan Siejka, a highly regarded neurologist from the Australian state of Tasmania died from his injuries after a fall at the Porters Ski area. His death came as a major blow to medical services in his home state where he almost singlehandedly provided its neurology services. He was a highly regarded professional and his loss was keenly felt by his colleagues, patients, family and friends.

A month earlier,  Jonathan Harvey Morgan, 38 a highly experienced heli-skiing guide with Alpine Guides was killed in an avalanche in Methven  on 14 August, fortunately his clients survived but a month before Australian tourist, Llynden Riethmuller, also died in an avalanche whilst skiing with the same company, in the same area.

Rosemary Berry, a semi retired Australian tourist, broke an arm and shoulder whilst skiing and sustained other injuries after she fell over a metal track left in the snow at the Cardrona Ski Resort. The company subsequently tried to appeal against its conviction of fines and costs totalling almost $60,000.

According to information released as part of the Dept of Labour’s investigation into adventure tourism the highest activity area for serious harm accident notifications in New Zealand  is ski fields, followed by luge, horse trekking and ATV tour accidents link.
For more about adventure sports, and consulate advice that some countries are giving their citizens about the high risks present in New Zealand read our Adventure Tourism and Safety stats and facts page.

Consular advice:
Australia (May 2011)
“Many tourists safely undertake adventure activities in New Zealand. However, many adventure tourism activities have inherent risks, and there have been a number of serious accidents involving Australians and other tourists, some resulting in deaths. Some operators have been found to be negligent. You should be aware that safety standards in New Zealand’s adventure tourism industry may differ between individual operators and may differ from those in Australia.
Travellers need to make their own careful judgements about the risks involved in individual or group activities and of the safety standards of individual operators. We strongly recommend travellers inquire with individual operators about the safety standards adhered to, whether these standards are applied across the industry and the risks involved in the activity. We recommend travellers hold travel insurance and complementary accident or income protection insurance and understand what circumstances and activities are not covered by the policies.”
Britain (May 2011)
There have been a number of tragic accidents involving British visitors; these also include extreme sporting accidents. If you intend to participate in extreme sports do check that the company is well established in the industry and that your insurance covers you. If you intend visiting remote areas, check with local tourist authorities for advice before setting out. Ensure that you register your details with a Visitor Information Centre or family or friends. Weather conditions can quickly become treacherous in some areas so keep yourself informed of regional weather forecasts.”
Also read: Dr Stan Siejka Inquest – Busy Helicopter “Delayed Treatment”

Snow field reviews from Snow

June 20, 2011
Graham from New Zealand (on Whakapapa)
"Wonderful varied natural terrain unfortunately spoiled by lack of decent facilities and ancient lifts that are slow and have massive queues on weekends. Non existent enforcement of rules by ski patrol make it dangerous as well."

September 14, 2009
MARTIN from United Kingdom (on Turoa)
"Turoa and Whakapapa have potential to be good ski fields. However, the poor weather is the biggest problem and the ancient lift system is a real pain. If you can only get up at weekends then you will have the crowds to deal with. The queues for the lifts are not too bad, if all lifts are running, but if the big 6 seater is not running then the lower and mid mountain become a huge bottleneck; you can wait 30 minutes for the lift. They need to invest some money on making the mid mountain lifts more efficient and make the beginners slopes better.
All in all, not a bad place to ski and board if you get good conditions. But don't book a holiday from Oz or anywhere else in the world to come here. Chances are the mountain at Turoa will be closed due to wind or poor visibility."

August 03, 2011
David Dewitt from Australia (on Mount Hutt)
"Well, we came, we saw (50cm snow) we conquered?
Mount Hutt seemed like it would be great with 2 metres of snow, but alas a lot more rocks this time. It has come a long way since I was there 20 years ago, but the old Hutt needs a lot of snow..."

August 30, 2010
Alex S from Afghanistan
"I have skied Mount Hutt 40+ days in all types of conditions...
Definitely worth a day or two, perhaps even a week or two if the snow is really on and you don't mind the 20-30min ascent. Keep in mind the assent can be slightly hair raising for the uninitiated, as unprotected 300ft + drops exist to one side (two cars have gone off the edge this season, resulting in one fatality)."

August 24, 2009
Angela, UK. Aug 2009 from United Kingdom
"I've only ever skied in Austria so the runs available at Mount Hutt seemed limited but ok for a day. The drive up in the ski bus was scary to say the least - that alone would put me off coming again. The pistes were well groomed but one that opened later in the day was very icy. I don't think it got any sun at all. I felt like a beginner again. There was a lively band playing which gave a slight apres-ski feel but arriving back in Methven, it was very quiet. Not exactly St Anton. Sorry about the negative comments but two people were killed off-piste while we were in NZ - if the area to ski was more extensive, maybe people wouldn't feel this need? What a blast to ski in August though."
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Saturday, August 6, 2011

Rugby World Cup Visitors To Be "Spammed"

Visitors to the New Zealand rugby world cup are to be “spammed” with enticements to come back and live, work or play in New Zealand, according to a report in today’s Dom Post
Rugby World Cup visitors will be spammed by the Government in an effort to entice skilled migrants to New Zealand’s “exciting, vibrant and healthy” way of life.
Passenger arrivals cards, which must be filled in by everyone arriving at any entrance port, have been amended to include the question: “Are you here for the Rugby World Cup?”
Under a Labour Department proposal, visitors who answer “yes” – and whose occupations are on the list of skills shortages – will receive marketing material, including emails encouraging them to migrate….
For more about “New Zealand’s exciting, vibrant and healthy way of life” read some of our Facts and Stats pages and Migrants Tales.

The report goes on to say that fans will be told to sign up to a promotional website called New Zealand Now, apparently it “extols our “unique lifestyle” and offers assistance and information about migration.

There is also a $67,000 advertising campaign (no expense spared here!) that will aimed at skilled workers on holiday. This will result in strategically placed fliers (on recycled paper, we hope) and immigration ads in world cup publications and around the net.

Want to express an interest, or find out more about migrating to New Zealand? Here’s the first catch
Information given on arrival cards would be used “over the longer term” to market New Zealand opportunities, including targeting people with occupations for which New Zealand has significant shortages..”
Once you’re on the database you’re likely to be hounded with information for ever more. We’re hoping that people will be able to de-register their interest when the time comes. There is a privacy issue here too: once your details on on the database who will have access to them, will you be able to ask for them to be removed?
“A Labour Department spokesman said possible privacy implications of using people’s personal information were being discussed with the Office of the Privacy Commissioner. “
We hope they get that one sorted out before the first registrations start coming in, the cup kicks off next month.

Who are the people most likely to be ‘spammed’? According to the Dom Post’s report:
“Those who might expect to be targeted include engineers, surveyors, regional planners, early childhood and secondary school teachers, anaesthetists, audiologists, midwives, social workers, IT staff, chefs, mechanics, ship captains and film animators.”… more here
Which is an interesting list, some of those occupations are notoriously difficult to get in to, even for New Zealanders. Some require specific New Zealand experience and/or expensive and time consuming registration processes  before one can work in that profession in New Zealand (read our Migrants Tales to see why) Take a look at the official registration requirements here 

If NZ immigration is so keen to bring in skilled professionals to fill genuine shortages why aren’t they paying registration fees for them? They could be refunded to an applicant if their SMC application is successful. More importantly do the job vacancies actually exist or is this just a revenue raising exercise?

Here’s the second catch: Last month the NZ immigration service made changes to the requirements of the Skilled Migrant Category. (Thanks to Moonlight and P Ray for the head’s up)

The changes include the following restrictions
  • English for speakers of other languages (ESOL) qualifications will no longer meet the criteria for qualification points.
  • Applicants who are in New Zealand and hold, or have held, Study to Work visas will no longer be eligible for a SMC Job Search Visa.
  • Applicants with qualifications in an area of absolute skill shortage will no longer be able to automatically obtain residence without skilled employment.
  • Settlement and contribution criteria will be weighted towards skilled employment.
  • Partners and/or children of SMC Job Search Visas holders will no longer be automatically eligible for temporary visas related to the holder’s work visa.
It seems strange that immigration is tightening up on skilled migrant requirements, possibly because the jobs aren’t out there for immigrants (unemployment is still at 6.5%) whilst actively encouraging people to emigrate to New Zealand.

Read one of our Migrants Tales “No science or skills shortages in New Zealand” to get a feel for the opportunities that are really out there. Then do your own research before signing up to anything.

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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

"Of Course I Finished the Set" Kiwi's Insensitivity Goes Viral

A NZ Campbell Live TV interview (above) with a brash young Kiwi caught up in the Oslo bombing has attracted worldwide condemnation for the astonishing degree of insensitivity he showed to the atrocity and for bragging about finishing a weight lifting set before evacuating the gym he was in.
Proud Kiwi, Cameron Leslie, appeared relaxed and was sporting a neatly pressed black shirt and prominent hei matau. 

Every inch the iconic Kiwi abroad he started off his interview with a cheerful Kia Ora! to his friends and family back home in New Zealand. The sales rep, who's been living in Norway for three years went on to tell Campbell the blast was quite overwhelming for a couple of reasons, one of which his proximity to the bomb twenty minutes before and the other
"I was on my eighth repetition of a 165-kilogram benchpress. Ahh, you know that's quite a lot of weight," adding "naturally I finished my set and then made my way to the second level."
The interview has spawned heaps of ridicule, much of which has gone viral, including a range of T shirts, blogs including Tosh.O on which over 260 replies were made, parody videos and a fake twitter account

''naturally I finished my set" T shirt now essential gym wear
"Bragging weightlifter's bad taste Oslo 'joke' goes viral
A New Zealander in Norway who jokingly bragged about his weight-lifting prowess while giving his account of the Oslo bombing has been ridiculed on a new range of T-shirts.
Cameron Leslie went on live television in the days after the deadly terrorist attack to give his first-hand account of the bombing, but instead of details of the blast, he explained how he was loathe to interrupt his gym workout..." more here in the Sydney Morning Herald
Cameron Leslie hit back at Mr Vintage, the company producing the 'Naturally I finished my set' t-shirts, leaving this message on their Facebook site

Message from Cam to Mr Vintage
Someone claiming to be Cameron Leslie has published an apology of sorts on Blogspot. We don't think it's much of an apology and we think his call to remove Anders Breivik's image from the tabloids is rather contrived, clumsy and ill-timed. This boy desperately needs the services of a good PR company, if only he'd stop digging long enough to engage one. This is what Leslie wrote
I do apologize to all New Zealander's and others for making a joke in bad times. Yes I was within 50 meters during the blast. Yes I was in the gym and using the bench press at the time. No I was not lifting 165kgs.
Why did I lie? The joke was supposed to be subtle and focused to friends and family but due to little preparation and nerves of live TV I took this a bit too far without thinking. I do apologize and now wish to make good of this. On the bright side: negative news spurs attention and creates publicity. It seems I have unintentionally succeeded in this and want to make good from this situation.
What now?
Here is what now. For all the people following these threads and using their energy to voice themselves, here is your chance to HELP!
For anyone that watched the whole interview you will see one important point was made at the end. We don't want Andres (sic) Breivik to be remembered! We want his pictures removed from the tabloids!
Please please channel your energies here:
Massive appeal to world media by email
Perhaps this sounds stupid but this is the power of negative publicity. Use your noise for the better cause. I have sacrificed my reputation for it and now I ask you all to sacrifice 5 minutes of your time to write to these tabloids and help us.
For those that still think I don't care, know this:
-I am a Norwegian resident
-I have lived in Norway for 3.5 years
-I have family in Norway
-I work and pay taxes in Norway
-I speak Norwegian
-I have represented Norway in sport.
Hvor mange av dere kan si det samme? (ed: How many of you can say the same?) Point made, I do care!
I will continue to post this on every forum or write up I come across.
My sincere apologies and regards,
Cameron Wickham Leslie
Comments from around the net
Junior Torres · San Diego, California (Tosh.O)
That was really annoying when Cameron went completely went off topic and started talking about some sort of explosion. I wanted to know what other types of exercise did he do? What type of bike did he use to go to the gym? Trek?
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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Reasons Not To Move To New Zealand

Today we're opening up both blogs to our readers so that they can share their reasons not to move to New Zealand.

The best comments will be included in this post.

Here's the first, left by tanya1574 on our Wordpress blog
1. "Small-minded, xenophobic locals (not all, but many)
2. Hugely expensive produce, no variety in supermarkets
3. Above also applies to clothing
4. Above also applies to housing. Prohibitively expensive
5. Above also applies to child care
6. Shocking youth culture (drugs, alcohol, boy-racers etc)
7. Weather – better than some places, but if you come from a sunny, warm climate, NZ’s climate is a shock to the system. Lots of rains, lots of wind and extremely high humidity in summer
8. Low wages and jobs-for-buddies system. If you don’t know the right people and speak with the right accent, getting a decent job is almost impossible. Prepare to be washing dishes, driving a taxi, working in a call-centre or coffee bar etc (no matter how good your qualification/s and experience)

All that said, if you have a lot of money and know enough people in NZ, in other words if you don’t need to work for a living and don’t need the locals for your social life, you might like it. It is beautiful and, for the most part, peaceful. Not great for teenagers though, but possibly to retire. NZ Immigration will welcome you (or more accurately, your money) with open arms as long as you don’t expect to earn a living or integrate into Kiwi society"

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Friday, July 15, 2011

England Rugby Strip Goes All Black For Away Matches

Artist impression of the new shirt

Englands rugby team today struck a blow at the heart of a nation's collective national identity by announcing that the jersey for its away team will change to black.

The decision is sure to unnerve New Zealand who have adopted black as the unofficial national colour ever since a British journalist coined the name "All Blacks" in the early part of the last century. Black now forms the underlying theme of New Zealand's Nation Branding, and not just for its sports teams (Black Sticks, Tall Blacks etc.) It now adorns everything from passports to baby clothes.

One major problem with this adherence to image is the sense of confusion and loss when someone else takes a part of it as their own. It gives England a significant psychological advantage and is a brilliant move on their part.

The story was broken by the UK's Daily Mail

"The England rugby team will wear an all black strip when they kick off their World Cup campaign against Argentina in New Zealand.

The decision to wear the new 'away' strip for their opening pool match in Dunedin on September 10 is certain to ruffle a few Kiwi feathers and could even spark a diplomatic row with the host nation before a ball has been kicked.

Both the shirt and the shorts of the new strip are jet black with no other colour except for the Red Rose badge..."

A diplomatic row over something as ubiquitous as a colour, surely not? A country can't own a colour. Can it?

The Mail goes on to say that the strip will be worn for England's warm ups and opening match against Argentina. Intriguingly, the shirt will also display Maori symbols and decorations, presumably with the consent and the blessing of the iwi concerned. Nobody wants a repeat of the furore over the Mike Tyson tattoo, do they?

In the unlikely event that New Zealand should meet England in the field of battle the English team say they will revert to wearing their traditional white shirts.

No word yet as to whether the new 'all blacks' will be performing their own haka, or whether they'll go for something more exciting.

Game on!

Related stories:

All Black fans sore losers at Carisbrook stadium, Dunedin

"French players are surprised and disappointed at the behaviour of Dunedin rugby fans who pelted them with bottles following last Saturday's Test defeat of the All Blacks .

A spokesman said the team has laid no complaint with New Zealand or Otago Rugby Football Union (ORU) officials but lock Sebastien Chabal and first five-eighth Francois Trinh-Duc on Wednesday said the players were stunned to have to dodge missiles as they celebrated their 27-22 first Test win.

As a team they lapped Carisbrook to show their appreciation to French supporters, only to be showered with plastic bottles - most of them full or half-full - by the crowd on the terrace, which featured large numbers of students. Some players reportedly had to duck or jump to avoid being hit..."more here

Fans throwing bottles during Mexican Wave, Dunedin, June 2010

Rugby fans in danger of attacks on Karangahape 'K' Road in Auckland.

The Auckland Tramways Union says the $2 million upgrade of bus stops along the city's Karangahape Road for the Rugby World Cup will lead to more assaults.

The union says a two-metre space between the upgraded shelters and motorway barrier will mean people can hide behind them and lie in wait for passengers, bus drivers or pedestrians. source

You may also like:

12 Recipes From the Nation Branding Cookbook

10) Visuals.

"In order to help build an image, a country needs to be coherent in its visuals: from the flag to the colors of the sports teams, from stamps to banknotes, from passports to road signs. A country should find and keep a consistent look & feel in shapes, color schemes and typographies. Identify a national visual identity and color palette and dress with it. Almost always."

Only The All Blacks Can Wear Black With Pride?: John Key carelessly snubs other NZ national sporting teams

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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

NZ “Not As Squeaky Clean As People May Perceive”

 1981 Springbok tour, dark days for NZ

The Rugby World Cup is very likely to become a focus for civil disobedience among NZ protest groups who are threatening civil disobedience and the flour bombing of matches.

“…Groups protesting against Government economic policies are proposing “civil disobedience” to disrupt the Rugby World Cup – possibly including flour-bombing Eden Park.

The protesters, including unions and church groups, plan to march up Queen St in Auckland from noon tomorrow against last week’s Budget cuts to KiwiSaver, family tax credits and public services and state asset sales.

Spokesman Meredydd Barrar of the newly formed Coalition for Social Justice said the groups also “intend to take action during the World Cup to alert the world that New Zealand is not as squeaky clean as people might perceive. We might have to flour-bomb Eden Park again,” he said.

Anti-apartheid protesters famously dropped bags of flour over the stadium from a plane during the final test of the Springbok rugby tour in 1981…” read the rest in The Herald

During the 1981 Springbok tour ("The Flour Bomb Test") Eden Park was peppered with flour bombs and flares dropped from a low flying Cessna. All Black prop Gary Knight was knocked to the ground by a flour bomb. Outside the ground violence erupted on a grand scale.


In Hamilton the match against Waikato was called off in front of a full house after a pitch invasion by several hundred anti-tour protestors, and rumours that a light aircraft had been stolen from Taupo and was headed for Rugby Park. (source)

New Zealand Exposed

Among the people threatening to disrupt the tournament are Maori activists Titewhai Harawira and Ngaire Te Hira. In February they announced they were going to use the Rugby World Cup to "expose" New Zealand's treatment of Maori.

Titewhai Harawira was reported as saying

"We are going to use the international media to expose what is going on in this country," she told the Sunday Star-Times.

"I want to be telling international media that all those reports they get that say we are well looked after and our land is intact are rubbish. We are going to be talking to the international media, absolutely."

Harawira said she hoped to provide visitors with a "whole chronology of what has happened in this country".

"I will talk about how legislation has taken away and denied us," she said. "We have time to put it all together, hand it out and talk about it." read more here

Unite Union is running a campaign for a $15 an hour ($12 US) minimum wage and is says it "plans to use activities around the Rugby World Cup to press hard for the significant increase in the minimum wage."

Of course getting the truth out about New Zealand is nothing new.

There are people who have been exposing the truth about New Zealand for many years. A group of expatriates set up a website called to draw attention to the raw deals that migrants get in New Zealand. Many of its members were taken-in by misleading marketing and the promises of work and higher living standards that never materialised.

You may also be interested in

Adios, No Mexican Wave For English Fans At Dunedin RWC Matches - "The Mexican Wave is going to be banned at all RWC matches at Dunedin’s soon to be completed 30,000 seat stadium..."

Eden Park Four Nations – “Disgraceful” Behaviour Slammed - "Alcohol fuelled mayhem at last night’s Four Nation’s match at Eden Park. Read Drunken fans marr Eden Park’s Four Nations..."

“NZ: 100% Pure Rip-Off” - "Oh dear, bet the guys who coined the “100% Pure NZ” are cringing right now. It will be interesting to see how well the brand’s image survives this latest onslaught on the slogan that lends itself so easily to abuse. It is currently being used to highlight how expensive New Zealand has become. It all started with an article in the NZ Herald under the header “NZ: 100% Pure Rip-off. Rip off New Zealand?” written by Peter Bills, an international writer for Independent News & Media."

Our very popular Migrants Tales series and NZ Facts and Stats pages

Today's posts - click here

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

NZ ‘Great Place To Raise Kids,’ Not So Great For Teens

Various media outlets are today carrying a story about the release of a new report from the Prime Minister’s chief science adviser, Sir Peter Gluckman, called Improving the Transition. Reducing Social and Psychological Morbidity During Adolescence.
This is how Stuff started its coverage of the report
NZ teens at ‘unprecedented risk’ – report
Adolescents growing up in New Zealand have to navigate a gauntlet of dangers that are putting them at unprecedented risk, a major Government report says.
The report from the Prime Minister’s chief science adviser, Sir Peter Gluckman, says one in five young New Zealanders will face problems as they grow up that will affect the rest of their lives.
Alcohol, depression, drugs, bullying and earlier sexual development are among the issues singled out in the report, which was authored by two dozen leading researchers… read more
You can read a full copy of the report here and we’ve included the executive summary from it below.
Great Place To Raise Kids
Still thinking about moving to New Zealand because you’ve heard it’s a great place to raise kids?
You may want to start by reading our Stats and Facts page about Education and Children’s Issues in New Zealand. This is the first section from that page:
“Aotearoa/ New Zealand has;
  • A problem with gangs that are contributing to crime and abuse in the home. Young people are joining gangs for safety and are becoming victims of gang life.
  • A problem with bullying – particularly of specific groups like refugee and migrant young people.
  • A problem with child abuse which is not just statistics or features in death notices in newspapers but a reality that many of the young story tellers knew and experienced.
  • An issue with domestic violence affecting the lives of many children and young people.
          quote from “HEAR OUR VOICES” by  Save the Children, NZ:
Despite statements like the above by Save the Children,  New Zealand is often presented to migrants as a great place to bring up the kids. Is this Marketing hype or just wishful thinking on the part of migrants trying to justify their decisions to leave?
Are you going from frying pan to fire?
It sounds patronising, but sometimes I feel sorry for New Zealand. We’re a curious anomaly. One day the country is rated as one of the best places in the world to live, most peaceful, best quality of life, best cities to visit, best coastline, best leisure sports. For such a small population, we do incredibly well at certain things and appear, from the outside, to be at one with the environment. Yet, at the same time, there’s high teen suicide and pregnancy rates, high alcohol consumption, high rates of bullying, domestic violence and child abuse.
If New Zealand is such a fabulous place to live, why are we leaving?…” read more on MSN Money NZ
The Chief Coroner said he was “shocked and frustrated” by the high number of very young teens (some as young as 13) who drink themselves to death in New Zealand. It’s another symptom of the country’s hard drinking/binge drinking culture.

How would you feel if you found out that your daughter;s school was offering her nicotine patches and other quit smoking products to her and her classmates to wean them off cigarettes. Would you want to be consulted beforehand?

Woud you still move knowing that New Zealand has some of the highest rates of child abuse, teen pregnancy and youth suicide in the world?

How do feel about New Zealand’s problems with youth violence,  human rights abuses in its schools, a bullying culture, the low quality of education and host of other problems including high incidences of diseases more usually associated with developing countries?

Have you thought about your child’s future as they become an adult in New Zealand, will there be sufficient work for them and will they have to leave to have a reasonable chance of a bright future?”
Read more from our facts and stats page

Improving the Transition. Reducing Social and Psychological Morbidity During Adolescence. (Emphasis ours)
Executive summary
Adolescents in New Zealand relative to those in other developed countries have a high rate of social morbidity. While most adolescents are resilient to the complexities of the social milieu in which they live, at least 20% of young New Zealanders will exhibit behaviours and emotions or have experiences that lead to long-term consequences affecting the rest of their lives.
  •  An extensive and unbiased review of the relevant scientific literature has been undertaken by a multidisciplinary panel of experts. The key points are summarised in this introductory Synthesis Report, and the main part of the report contains the detailed and domain-specific reviews.

One dominant message comes through – that application of the international and domestic evidence base to policy formation and programme development in this area will lead to better outcomes for our young people. However, to do so will require a prolonged effort over several electoral cycles and cannot be held hostage to adversarial politics. Our research suggests that many programmes have been introduced, albeit with good intent, that are unlikely to succeed as they are not supported by the evidence base, whereas other approaches likely to be effective have not been implemented. A key challenge is to ensure that all programmes are appropriately monitored to ensure that they are effective and cost effective within the New Zealand context, allowing better use of scarce public resources to support our young people.

• Adolescence is now a prolonged period in the human life course. Its length is influenced by the declining age of puberty as child health has improved and by the rising age at which young people are accepted as adults. This has both societal and biological elements, the latter reflecting recent findings that brain maturation is not complete until well into the third decade of life and that the last functions to mature are those of impulse control and judgement. It is therefore inevitable that adolescence is a period of risk-taking and impulsivity. For many children these are basically healthy and transient behaviours, but for too many there are long-term negative consequences. The key issue is what can be done to change the nature of, and reduce the impact of, these behaviours.

• The evidence shows that the risk of impulsive and antisocial behaviour is greatly increased by experiences earlier in life. It is now clear that early childhood is the critical period in which executive functions such as the fundamentals of self-control are established. Children who do not adequately develop these executive functions in early life are more likely to make poor decisions during adolescence, given the inevitable exposures to risk in the teenage years. It is very clear from our review of the literature that more can be done to improve socialisation and executive function development by reorientation of early childhood programmes. Further, while all children will benefit from these programmes, the evidence is compelling that targeting intensive but costly interventions towards the higher-risk sections of the community has a high rate of social and economic return. Hence the critical importance of adopting a life-course approach to prevention.

• Remediation in adolescence is not likely to be as effective as prevention. Although there are some remediation programmes that are partially effective, others clearly are not. Public and voluntary investment in programmes directed towards at-risk adolescents needs to be re-orientated towards those interventions that can be shown by high quality research to have real impact within the New Zealand context.

• The adolescent brain is clearly more sensitive to both alcohol and cannabis, with long-lasting adverse consequences for far too many. Stronger measures are needed to restrict access of young people to these drugs.
One cannot overestimate the changed nature of the social environment in which young people find themselves compared with that of previous generations. The nature of peer pressure and role models has been radically altered by exposure to electronically connected social networks and to very different media content. Young people have far greater freedom, engendered by more ready access to funds. While the exact impact of these changes is difficult to ascertain, it is clear that they have radically affected the social pressures that influence adolescent behaviour. This creates challenges for parents and society in establishing boundaries and acceptable behaviours.

A significant proportion of young people suffer from depression and other mental health disorders, yet the range of services available to them is inadequate. Given New Zealand’s high rate of adolescent suicide and psychological morbidity we suggest that priority be given to addressing this capacity gap and to raising public awareness of the particularities of adolescent depression.

• In general, most of the risky and impulsive behaviours of adolescence reflect incomplete maturation of self-control and judgement. Accordingly, punitive approaches are less likely to be effective than well-established and validated approaches that attempt to remedy these deficits. There is an inherent conflict between the practical focus on using chronological age to determine rights and obligations and the highly individualistic processes of maturation.

• The young people of New Zealand reflect the changing ethnic mix of our population. While the issues and their solutions are generic across all of our population, programmes must be developed and delivered in culturally appropriate ways to the very different communities that now make up young New Zealand. Targeted investments in the ‘long tail’ of educational underachievement and social disengagement will be needed. It is clear that while adolescent morbidity is observed across the whole of our communities, it is disproportionately found within sectors where there is intergenerational disadvantage.
• Social investment in New Zealand should take more account of the growing evidence that prevention and intervention strategies applied early in life are more effective in altering outcomes and reap more economic returns over the life course than do strategies applied later. This will require long-term commitment to appropriate policies and programmes.
Synthesis Report

• The report identifies a number of knowledge gaps that should be addressed.

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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Irish in Wellywood and White Elephants

The Wellygate debacle continues with another protagonist attracting attention to the sign, by raising the ire of the Irish.

Architect and mayor of Wellington from 1974 to 1983,  Sir Michael Fowler, obviously did not win his knighthood for international diplomacy
The Human Right's Commission says it can't take any action against inflammatory comments made by Sir Michael Fowler.
The former mayor of Wellington has said opponents to the Wellywood sign were likely to be dumb, humourless and Irish.
Those comments have sparked an outcry.
The Human Right's Commission has received several calls from members of the public expressing their concern.
However spokesman Gilbert Wong says there's nothing they can do about it...more here
Curiously, Sir Michael was responsible for Wellington's other white elephant  - the Wellington International Passenger Terminal. In an interview he gave he said he was
"party to the biggest white elephant ever built"
Unfortunately white makes for an excellent canvas.

Ireland fans will be arriving in New Zealand for the rugby world cup in a few months from now. Wellington should start removing cans of emerald green paint from the shelves of its DIY barns.
For our other blogs about the Wellywood sign click here Today's posts - click here

Monday, May 23, 2011

Wellywood Sign So Last Century; The Lawyers Circle

unoriginal and boring
The future of New Zealand's film industry is becoming more niche and high tech as the digital and 3D revolution takes over Wellinton's production suites. There is less and less emphasis based on celluloid scenes of mountains and green pastures.

Recent data released by Statistics New Zealand shows New Zealand's film production industry is declining (see below) and is being replaced by post production, particularly digital effects, on films such as Avatar.

But by a country mile the most stable and profitable sector of the country's industry isn't film work at all but television broadcasting, most of which comes out of Auckland and not Wellington.

zero points for originality
Regardless of all this Wellington airport and their majority shareholder, Infratil, have decided to advertise New Zealand's success (and by association, Wellington) by erecting a tacky pastiche of a sign that first saw the light of day on another continent back in the 1920s.

Was a rip-off of a hundred year old sign really the best they could come up with in this age  of industrial light and magic and 3D rendering? Zero points for imagination and innovation. A pastiche of a symbol from a bygone age does nothing but emphasise everything that New Zealand is not, and can never be.

The UK's Telegraph has picked up on the outrage that some New Zealanders are feeling about the Wellywood sign
Plans for the 92ft-long lettering atop hills beside the city's international airport have been argued over for more than a year, but council planners have now given permission to go ahead, triggering a storm of opposition.
Outraged critics have swamped social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter, blasting the sign as "tacky, unoriginal and embarrassing".
One Facebook group was shut down after members suggested blowing up and setting fire to the sign, while others called on opponents to send a barrage of protest emails to the airport's website.
Another group threatened to stage a "slow-moving vehicle blockade" around the airport concourse in a bid to cause traffic chaos
The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, who hold the copyright on the Hollywood sign are said to be weighing up legal action to prevent the construction of the Wellywood billboard. Their president, Leron Gubler, said it could breach his organisation's trademark and
"We are not without a sense of humor, nor without legal rights. We hope that if the Wellington Airport wants to mimic our sign in this fashion, it will proceed in cooperation with us and will recognize that the holder of the rights to the sign and the party responsible for its continued existence is a nonprofit entity that works hard to raise funds so that the sign even exists to be mimicked."
What are the chances of a similar non profit association with the Wellywood sign? we say Zero.

Copyright Free for All

How would New Zealand react if Hollywood parodied New Zealand icons for commercial gain, or breached intellectual copyright. 

Remember the ruckus the All Blacks Haka caused, the wrath that descended on the heads of Philip Morris because of their Maori Mix cigarettes and the Mike Tyson/Hangover 2 tattoo? New Zealand should extend the same courtesy to Hollywood as it would like to attract to itself.
“It is astounding that a Pakeha tattooist who inscribes an African American’s flesh with what he considers to be a Maori design has the gall to claim … that design as his intellectual property,” Maori professor Ngahuia Te Awekotuku told the New Zealand Herald. “The tattooist has an incredible arrogance to assume he has the intellectual right to claim the design form of an indigenous culture that is not his.
What's sauce for the goose..

For our other blogs about the Wellywood sign click here
Revenue from post production in New Zealand has risen risen to 40 % and is now worth $584 million, in 2008 it only made up 25 % cent of the industry. source

Statistics NZ data
  • In 2010 there were 3,189 businesses in the New Zealand screen industry, up 19 percent from 2009.
  • Post-production activity has almost doubled over the past two years, and is now worth $584 million.
  • Over two-thirds of all post-production revenue ($408 million) was generated by contractors.
  • 58 percent of all production company revenue and 55 percent of all funding came from New Zealand sources.


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