Our Patch

Children have fun playing sports and don’t need to satisfy adults’ ambitions

Jul 10th, 2019 | By

Playing sports has clear social, physical and mental health benefits for children. But evidence shows that youth sports in Western societies have become increasingly controlled and regulated by adults, which takes the fun out for many children.

Participation rates by adolescents have been declining and recent statistics released by the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) show a 60% surge in sports injuries for children in the 10 to 14 age group over the past decade in New Zealand.



Warmer home grants open

Jul 10th, 2019 | By

The Government’s Warmer Kiwi Homes Programme is now offering grants for insulation and heaters to low income, owner-occupied homes.

The grants cover two‐thirds of the cost of installing insulation. Grants for approved heaters (efficient heat pumps, wood burners and pellet burners) are capped at a maximum of $2500.

To be eligible for a grant:



Ode to country living

Jul 4th, 2019 | By

“Ninety percent of people who shift to a lifestyle block do it because they don’t want any neighbours.”

Such was the frank observation of a real estate agent in the audience of a Fieldays presentation looking at the loss of productive land to small rural blocks.

His comment struck a chord with me. After close encounters in the city, my wife, Sandy, and I longed for more space and bit of peace and quiet.



Psst! Wanta buy a Mac

Jun 18th, 2019 | By

Recently Apple made a bit of stir by releasing a $US5000 computer screen, then charging an extra $US1000 for the stand that the monitor required to stay upright.

The cynic in me thinks this is probably just a marketing stunt – they wanted to charge $6000, but knew they’d get more publicity if they got everybody riled up about how ridiculous this is, and keep themselves in the headlines for a lot longer than if they’d just, you know, sold the thing.



Food, farms a-changing

Jun 16th, 2019 | By

A dairy farmer friend said to me: “Just go to a café, look at the menu and what people are eating, and you know things are changing.”

That was years ago. Change continues, and the pace of change is accelerating.

The Craft Meat Co of Dunedin, for example, has “100% plant-based” No-Meat Mince. Sunfed Meats offers Chicken Free Chicken Wild Meaty Chunks made from premium yellow pea protein.



Trash talk

Jun 6th, 2019 | By

‘How to sort NZ’s plastic mess’ was the title of a recent New Zealand Herald article. A partial answer apparently is packaging that doesn’t need to be discarded.

But plastic is just one part of our growing waste problem, and recycling is only a partial answer to it.

The real answer, of course, is to not generate the waste in the first place. Enter The Rubbish Trip, a roaming zero waste roadshow with a heartfelt message.



Food choices that lie

May 25th, 2019 | By

Our nearest supermarket has reorganized its stock and now has a healthy food aisle.

Under the psychology of supermarket layout this health food corral is right next to the fruit and vegetable section’s airy spaces, which are designed to lull shoppers into a relaxed if not mindless state in order to part them from more of their money.

But if the fruit and vegetables and corralled items are designated healthy what does that say for the rest of the supermarket stock? Less healthy? Not healthy? Junk food?



Antivirus protection: who to trust

May 19th, 2019 | By

The things we do! The other day I was on the phone to Norton (also known as Symantec), an antivirus company, for a full 50 minutes.

Every step of the way they tested our patience; they checked things that had already been checked, did things that didn’t need to be done. They were – of course – running out of some call center in India for maybe 50c an hour, so I used my limited compassion and let them waste both my and the clients time.

But enough’s enough.



More pleas to stop weed

May 9th, 2019 | By

A renewed plea for locals to help eradicate a horrible weed that is invading the area has been made.

In early 2017, local Ele Duncan urged residents to be on the look out for Yellow Bristle Grass and now the Tamahere Community Committee has joined the call.

It is becoming an invasive problem for farmers and is in Tamahere verges where the Waikato District Council does not spray, TCC said at its recent meeting.



Windows 10 for better or worse

Apr 22nd, 2019 | By

Windows 7 is expiring in January 2020; the only option is to upgrade to Windows 10, if you want to stay on that platform.

So what’s in a name? What’s better/worse about Windows 10?