Off Pat

Its over 60 years since Pat Booth first filed copy as a rookie reporter for the Hawera Star. Today he is still at the forefront of the industry as one of the country's most respected investigative journalists.

Anzac Day - fact and fiction

05:00am 29 Apr 2014

Anzac Day is very much something of a public/private event for my wife and I - we live across the road from the Wall of Memory.

Again this year, a few not-too-brisk strides (or, more correctly, hobbles) and we were there with familiar families around, saluting a kapa haka tribe from Leigh Primary School, complete with traditional (plastic) piu piu, and singing the national anthem in te reo. Cemetery headstones on a slope to the sea reflected a parade of service, some pre-dating Gallipoli.

One poignant reminder beneath the branches of a towering pohutukawa: Trooper Angus Matheson (Lord Liverpool's Own) died at Trentham, June 19, 1915, aged 21.

The inscription, punctuated by a fresh red poppy, ending: "… Earth's uniform discarded now,

Beneath the sod is laid

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Why is the Beehive 'radio inactive'?

05:00am 09 Apr 2014

PAT BOOTH

Another chapter over Fukushima and fish.

Last year, a family concern was over packed fish and we wondered whether it came from questionable water sources in Asia.

A fisheries importing executive assured me it wasn't.

"No, no. It's actually processed in China - but probably netted by Russian trawlers in the northern Pacific."

Which didn't allay my concerns.

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Is this really worth the struggle?

05:00am 01 Apr 2014

Where would you keep a copy of Mein Kampf ("My Struggle"), signed by its author - Adolf Hitler - and worth a six figure sum?

Not at your bedside or as a coffee table exhibit in your best sitting room.

What about a Swiss bank vault?

These questions, along with others, might be passing through DotCom's mind even as you read this.

Along with another query: Who knew that he owned a signed copy of Hitler's best seller and who leaked that fact to TV3, the Herald, Uncle Tom Cobley and all, believing, it could be a poll breaker like … well, you know what I mean.

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A real blast from the past

05:00am 18 Mar 2014

Atomic worries came to Auckland one evening in June 1962 when a sudden, giant red flash lit up the northern sky.

A lifetime of events and unplanned happenings are now fading behind the shutters of old age but that is one moment I'll never forget.

It was a frightening outcome of American nuclear tests in Johnston Atoll, half the Pacific away, using bombs 1000 times more powerful than Hiroshima's.

The memory has homed in on me again with new coverage of Marshall Islanders still protesting against testing which cost them their ancestral homes in the 1960s.

Atomic tests exposed thousands in the surrounding area to radioactive fallout, and Bikini islanders have lived in exile since.

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Tony and the ties that blind you!

05:00am 11 Mar 2014

Sad about Health Minister Tony Ryall. Just at the peak of his form and he's going. No-one will really replace him. With his ties, that is.

To say nothing of the shirts he's worn around Parliament and in Cabinet over the years.

Nothing will ever match his mismatches.

Few would have the guts to wear some of his wonderful ties.

Hospital doctors apparently ban ties these days - something about a drooping tie picking up germs at the stage a stethoscope is on your bare skin.

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