Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Off to Otipua and Aoraki. Reflecting on Christchurch and its connection with Antarctica.

I've been in Christchurch for just over 3 days and I am heading off to Otipua, a small community west of Timaru, to stay with my daughter Anita and her three children.

After six days on the beaches in the Bay of Plenty and the bush of the Urewera region last week, I want to see the big mountains. It is only an hour and a half from Otipua to Aoraki Mount Cook so hopefully during a fine spell, I will travel to Mount Cook.

In the last few days, I have been out walking with Ruia and we have taken a few photo that I have posted below that exemplifies why I love New Zealand. Lyttelton and Christchurch have a close connection with Antarctica, and I have been reflecting a little on the 13 months I spent there many years ago. In the winter of 1970, we were the smallest group at that stage, to winter over in Antarctica.

When I walk among the ferns in the forests, I feel protected.

I think it was Shakespeare who wrote, " That time of year or when yellow leaves or none do hang.... The bare branches and falling leave tells me it is winter.

The Kowhai is my favourite native flower and I have three trees flowering in my house in Christchurch along with the daffodils and Camellias.

I love walking over the Port Hills and around Lyttelton as is a sort of 'Turangawaiwai' for me. My Father was born here, my grandfathet ran a fishing boat here, and it was the port that Shackleton and Scott departed for Antarctica.

I saw Tui in the Urewera but in Christchurch, I see only sparrows.

While strolling around the Port Hills and Godley head, I thought of those soldiers, men and women, who defended our country here and abroad. On Godley head there are many coastal defence artillery posts built in 1940. I could hear the voices of the men and women who built and kept these posts during the war years.

The entrance to Lyttelton Harbour where Scott and Shackleton departed for Antarctica. I walked over these hills on Monday. See reference below.

Morning, Discovery and Terra Nova at the Port of Lyttelton during the British Antarctic Expedition, 1901-1904.

Scott and Shackleton chose the Port of Lyttelton as the New Zealand base for their Discovery, Nimrod and Terra Nova expeditions. Scott was reportedly given two choices of base for his first expedition: Melbourne and Christchurch - each of which had a magnetic observatory. He may have chosen Christchurch simply because it was closer to the Antarctic, but the presence of his cousin, R.J. Scott, a Professor of Engineering at the University of Canterbury, may also have had an influence. As in Port Chalmers, there were generous offers of goods and services from the Harbour Board and local businesses. Scott and Shackleton were rewarded with similar generosity on their subsequent expeditions, as was the Australasian Antarctic Expedition when its ship the Aurora called at Lyttelton in 1912.

Shackleton's ship Nimrod,which used Lyttelton as a base.

A 2007 study carried out by Lincoln University estimated that Antarctic-related activities directly contribute $88 million each year to the Canterbury region, with an indirect benefit of $155 million. They directly contribute $133 million to the New Zealand economy, with an indirect benefit of $282 million.
It wasn't until the initial stages of Operation Deep Freeze that Christchurch began to be heavily used again. Harewood Airport, now Christchurch International Airport, was the base for 14 of the aircraft involved in the first flights between New Zealand and the Antarctic in December 1955 (four others were based at Taieri Airport, near Dunedin), while Lyttelton was the base for seven supporting United States Navy vessels. Operation Deep Freeze was subsequently supported by many New Zealand ports, but its New Zealand base remained in Christchurch. Regular support missions continue to be flown from the airport, while the port is used to refuel and replenish supply vessels.

In 1969 as a 21 year old, I flew from Christchurch to Antarctica where I was a science technician and wintered over at Vanda Station. So Christchurch has been a departure point for me on a number of expeditions throughout the world. In 1968 before my departure to Peru on a New Zealand mountaineering expedition, I stayed with Harry, Hillary Pene and Ben Evison in their home in Scarborough. From their home we could hear the booming buoy that warned ships of danger. Two days later I left Lyttelton on a ferry to Wellington.

Christchurch has a special place in my heart's history.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Duke Dumont

After a slanderous, yet joking (yet still suprisingly accurate) attack on my never-flinching fella, he as a response made me quite a fantastic mix.

To shut me up. Obviously.

And instead I'm here, to rave about this track.

Duke Dumont - Feltham (The Borstal Beat) [via YouSendIt for 7 days]

Ripped from the context of the mix I feel it loses something. But it means, excitingly, that it is brilliantly constructed to pulse and push through a mix, and I guarantee will be the stand out moment.

Usual malark. Love the man Dumont, the indisputable Duke. Go here, in praise and worship.

Justin Bieber a rising star

From social networking to iTunes to the billboard charts, Justin Bieber is already a dominating presence in the music industry...

... and he hasn't even released his debut album. reports that Justin is now in the top 600 of all Twitter users, recently passing up celebrities like Kelly Clarkson, Jennifer Hudson and Ben Stiller. He was even mentioned in a tweet from Taylor Swift!

Justin's MySpace account is approaching 90,000 friends, and there are only a mere 19 musician accounts in the whole world with more subscribers than Justin's on YouTube. Incredible!

But no longer is Justin just a star on social networking sites. His debut single 'One Time' is still #9 on the Canadian iTunes Store, winning out over the latest tracks from Jordin Sparks, Katy Perry and even Chris Brown, who was delighted with Justin's cover of his song, With You in February of 2008, personally congratulating him over the phone on his YouTube recognition. The video now has nearly 10 million views.

Another big milestone for Justin was debuting on the Billboard Hot 100 at #95 last week, and hitting the Canadian Hot 100 as well as 3 other Billboard charts for the second week in a row.

The power of social networking is not one to be taken lightly. Justin was approached shortly after opening his YouTube account in 2007 by Toronto-based Rapid Discovery Media whose expert marketing consultants assisted Justin with running his YouTube and MySpace accounts, producing, editing and promoting his videos, and propelling his account to worldwide recognition, gaining the attention of talkshows, radio stations, label executives, and former So So Def VP, Scooter Braun, who would eventually become Justin's manager.

What records will Justin hit next? It remains to be seen, but one thing is for sure... this is one rise to stardom that we'll all remember for a very long time.

Catch Justin's summer tour dates on his Official MySpace, and be sure to hit the Chat Room to chat with other Justin Bieber fans!

Check out these exclusive pictures sent in from Karlee and Erica! Thanks guys! If you have any exclusive pictures of Justin you would like to share, send them to and we'll feature them here on the site!

- BieberTeam

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Back in the bush, back in New Zealand

Back in the bush again. Kahanui stream in the Urewera. Photo: Tania McKerrow.

Misty mountains, sunlit solitudes, beaches curving to infinity, meandering rivers, towering podocarp forests, Maori on horses and living in isolated communities, a small gas station at the entrance to the valley where the owner sells fuel, repairs cars, sells food, cooks fish and chips and repairs shoes, seemingly at the same time. The red-tipped dawns, the frosty mornings, singing streams, river crossings and scrambling up hills are just some of the meories I am taking away from the Waiotahi valley, river and beach where I have been exploring for the last six days. What made it so warm and was having my daughter and seven week old daughter Aliyah with me most of the time.

Early morning on the Waiotahi River. Photo: Bob McKerrow

Just over 8 months ago I had total knee replacements in both legs and since then I have been building up to walking 7 km and later 10 km a day. My trip in the Urewera region was an opportunity to see if my new knees would be able to take me up hills, along bush tracks and cross rivers again. I should have never doubted Ed Newman's skills. They carried me where ever I wished to go.

The Waiotahi valley is a remote Maori region inhabited by Tuhoe and Whakatoea, On Saturday afternoon when I was cycling from the road end down to where I am staying I saw at least ten children walking between farms. All were Maori. Two of guys who work at the centre, Barlow, Whakatoea and Richie, Tuhoe, run the farm and are storehouses of Maoritanga. Their main marae is at the entrance to the Waiotaha valley.

Tania told me how she stopped at a gas station near Opotiki a week ago and watched 10 Maori teenagers ride up on horses. Horse riding is in the blood here and most oi the hunting is done from horses as the dogs flush the pigs and deer from the ridges down in to the vallies where they are shot.
On Sunday I watched Ritchie and his relatives catching a runaway horse. Horses are their main form of transportation in the eastern foothills of the Urerewa.

During my six days in the hills and forests we went down tro Waiotahi Beach and neighbouring beaches and bays.

Ohiwa Harbour. Photo: Bob McKerrow

Bread, parcels or mail. Take your pick. Photo: Bob McKerrow

Ohiwa Harbour. Photo: Bob McKerrow

Whale island from Waiotahi beach. Photo: Bob McKerrow

That broad arc of the Bay of Plenty. Photo: Bob McKerrow

Tania pushing 7 week old Aliyah along Waiotahi beach

Monday 27 July

It is right in front of you, raw elemental landscapes. Welcome home.

I am leaving today for Christchurch via Whakatane and Auckland. We drove down the Waiotahi valley to the sea shore then past Ohiwa harbour, Ohope Beach, Ohope and to Whakatane for breakfast. Scrambled eggs and ham in a croissant. That coastline is superb. Flew from Whakatane, saw White Island, near Tauranga and saw Waiheke Island as we prepared for a landing in Auckland. “This is my land and I am firmly rooted in it,” wrote Albert Wendt. Today as we flew down the North Island, I felt I owned this country. Sprawling Auckland, Port Waikato and the Waikato river, Ruapehu, Tongariro and Ngarahoe were plastered white and stood out proudly. Over a teal coloured Taranaki Bight, and then beneath Mount Taranaki.

All the ranges and ridges of the lower north island were covered with fresh snow. the Tararua. Ruahine, Orongaronga. The islands of Kapiti and Mana were visible.

Then it was home across the Cook Strait to Malborough and Canterbury. The Southern Alps were gleaming white.

From Godley Head looking across to Christchurch. Photo: Bob McKerrow

As soon as I unpacked my bags, my daughter Ruia took me to the hills and we walked down tg Godley Head.

Friday, July 24, 2009


Has time sped up? It is starting to scare me.

Enjoy Polytechnic.

Polytechnic - Pep

Anyone got bundles of cash they are trying to get rid of? Blood money? Proceeds of crime? State pension? Anything at all? Let me know.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Celebrity Reviews Kratae Supaksorn Chaimongkol

Supaksorn Chaimongkol (Thai: ศุภักษร ไชยมงคล) is a Thai model and actress. Her nickname is “Kratae”. Supaksorn Chaimongko film roles include Kunpan: Legend of the Warlord, Art of the Devil and Andaman Girl, all under director Thanit Jitnukul. In 2007, she starred in the spy-action comedy, Chai Lai, directed by Poj Arnon, and the martial arts drama Brave, featuring Thai stunt actor Pairote Boongerd (Mike B.) and Malaysian comedian Afdlin Shauki. In 2008, she starred in Handle Me With Care, a romantic drama written and directed by Kongdej Jaturanrasamee.

Celebrity Reviews Kelly Lin Xi Lei

Kelly Lin Hsi-Lei is a Taiwanese actress and model who has appeared mainly in Hong Kong films. Lin initially wanted to be a singer and has already recorded demo tapes for a record company, but she was given numerous offers for modeling on television and print ads. She was hailed by FHM as “Asia’s Sexiest Woman” in 2002, and has graced the cover of numerous fashion magazines in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and China. She has also appeared on copies of Marie Claire - French Edition (2005) and VOGUE Italia (2007). Kelly Lin has been seen in various Hong Kong films. With her success as an actress, she decided to drop her hopes of becoming a singer. After a two-year of hiatus from the film industry, Kelly Lin Xi Lei returned to acting with films such as Tokyo Trial and After This Our Exile for which she was nominated for Best Supporting Actress at the 2006 Hong Kong Film Awards. In 2006, she worked with award-winning French director, Olivier Assayas, and shared film credits with Italian-born Hollywood actress, Asia Argento, in the film, Boarding Gate, which aired at the Midnight Screening of the 2007 Cannes Film Festival. Her newest film, Sparrow, directed by Johnnie To, was nominated for the “Golden Bear” at the Berlin International Film Festival. Kelly Lin Xi Lei has also participated in other numerous international film festivals including the New York Asian Film Festival, the Sydney Film Festival, the Udine Far East Film Festival, the Seattle International Film Festival and the Barcelona Film Festival. Kelly Lin has recently signed under Stellar Entertainment Ltd.


Name: Kelly Lin Xi Lei 林熙蕾
Date of birth: 1975.10.29
Place of birth: Taiwan
Horoscope: Scorpio
Height: 170cm
Body weights: 48Kg
Blood-group: A
Measurements(cm): 86,58,86
Education background: American California University graduation
Hobby: Sing, watch television, sleep
Favorite color: White, ash, red, black
Lucky number: 7

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

In the Urewera

Waiotahi River

I am in the heart of Whakatoea and Tuhoe country. The Tuhoe, that Maori tribe made famous by the book ‘Children of the Mist’ by Elsdon Best, a people who repulsed British incursion into their remote lands.. This is a land of legends, spirits, remote forests, misty mountains and crystal clear streams which run to the mighty Pacific Ocean.

It is Thursday, having arrived in Auckland last Monday, 20 July.

My daughter Tania and her husband Al, and 2 month old baby Aliyah live here on the nabks of the Waiotahi river. Al is deputy Director of the Kahunui Outdoor centre, which runs outdoor courses for teenage high school students from Auckland.

I left Tauranga about 1 pm yesterday afternoon and travelled in south easterly direction, into the Bay of Plenty passing Te Puke, Matata and into Whakatane where we stopped to stock up on food for the week, and I bought myself a pair of hiking boots. From Whakatane the road climbs up over a spur and then one gets a marvellous view of Ohope beach. Pohoutakawa trees dot the roadside.

Then down into Waiotahi beach where they sell fresh and cooked oysters, produced on an oyster farm in Ohiwa island, A matter of a hundred yards off shore is the island of Ohakana. This is one of the most beautiful places I have seen in the North Island.

My daughter Tania and her husband Al live about an hour away from here at Kahunui, up the Waiotahi River in the forests of Urewera

On arrival yesterday afternoon Tania was excited to get a big parcel of new nappies (diapers) by post. They are cloth an quick drying, and more environmentally friendly than disposable ones. Then she said, “ Dad, do you mind getting your feet wet ? “ Never one to miss and adventure I replied, “ Why not?”

She slung Aliyah onto her front with a piece of cloth and headed up the road we walked up a stream and waded through its icy cold waters. Aliyah started crying and was hungry. Tania put her to her breast, tightend the cloth sling, and crossed the river again. We walked another 20 minutes or so crossing the stream at least five more times, all the time admiring the Podocarp forests.

Soon we came across a group of twenty or so students, who were on a survival course. Al and two other instructors were there. They had made shelters out of any dead material they could find, and together with one piece of plastic, had a home for the night. One young women proudly showed me the bivouac she had made.

I was so happy to be in the forests again. Being there with my daughter, grand daughter and her strapping Father Al, brought a dimension I have never had before. Three generations in the forests. I thought of my great father who explored the forests, mountains, rivers and lakes of Otago and Fiordland almost 150 years ago. Six generations of McKerrows have been in the forests and mountains of NZ.

Harp Tree up Kahunui Stream

Pohutakawa Tree in Ohiwa Harbour

Low tide at Ohiwa Harbour

Kahunui Centre

Stand of Kahikatea

Waiotahi river

With daughters and grand children in Tauranga. Tania holding Aliyah left and Kira right, holding Leith. I am in the middle. (all photos taken by Tania Burns)

Looking up..

Hark! There appears to be swathes of social immobility. Didn't you know? I just saw it on the news. And here I sat thinking my crushing despair and subsequent shattering of confidence was down to a change in the weather/Michael Jackson's death/body image issues. Oh no. It turns out that it really is all societal. I suppose that might ease my feelings inadequacy and guilt. Apart from the fact that it doesn't.

Ambition and a desire to progress do appear to be costing a great deal. Strain and stress. Punctured sleep and meals viewed in reverse. The mantra "Desperate times call for desperate measures.." no longer holding resonance.

I understand the competition. I truly do. But when I've nothing to offer than desire and a pledge that I will push myself beyond what I know my contemporaries will do its hard to know why it isn't enough.

Choking back tears during phonecalls that always spiral back to the well-trodden subject of money. "You know if I could help that I would love nothing more than to say 'Don't worry about it, Steph. Here is the money it is taken care of.' But you know I can't. I'm sorry." It tears the hearts of those around me apart. And only those closest know how deep it goes. The lengths gone to. The opportunities plundered and drawn up ultimately dry.

And all I can say is...

I'll be fucked if I'm going to give up!

Expensive academia and a glass ceiling will not deter me so easily. Wear me down, maybe. But it has it match met with me!

I may not have much, but it just means I've got less to lose.

David Bowie - Life On Mars [via YouSendIt for 7 days]

Monday, July 20, 2009

Celebrity Reviews Aishwarya Rai

Aishwarya Rai was born in Mangalore, in the southern Indian state of Karnataka, on November 1st, 1973. Her father, a merchant navy officer, relocated the family to Mumbai (formerly Bombay) when Aishwarya was four years old. She excelled at academics as a child and chose science as her area of concentration, hoping for a career in medicine (zoology being her favorite subject at the time). Instead, Ash -- one of her nicknames -- opted for a career in architecture, and passed her college entrance interviews with flying colors. Aishwarya entered the world of modeling when she was in the 9th grade, appearing in an ad for Camlin Industries. Initially, she modeled part-time, while focusing on her studies. As more assignments started rolling in, Ash decided to take a break from architecture and concentrate on modeling. Aishwarya became well known in India after she appeared in a Pepsi commercial. Other high-profile assignments quickly followed, including Palmolive, Casio pagers, Philips, Sheetal diva, and Prudent. What started off as a part-time activity quickly grew into a full-fledged career, as more companies hired the young beauty with the magnificent blue-green (and sometimes blue-gray) eyes.