Brain fade a writer's death sentence

Not knowing what to write about is every scribe's worst nightmare.

Sunday morning. A wintry sun streams through the window. The birds in my neighbour's aviary while not exactly singing, are cheeping and twittering in a cheerful way.

Bittersweet baking to the political rescue

Mary Sullivan delivers MP Nick Smith poo-shaped cupcakes in protest about New Zealand's poor water quality.

At first glance I didn't think a freshly baked batch of 'poo' cup-cakes would come to my political rescue.

Tourism is breaking its social contract

Curly Question ? What is the right number of overseas hunters and anglers in New Zealand annually?

No one can argue with the concept of Tourism. After all, it is the rock star of the New Zealand economy.

Protest permits a clause for thought

The bylaw was created to deal with Lewis Stanton and the issue of freedom campers in the city.

OPINION: The city council's proposed permit to protest bylaw is rapidly descending into farce.

The school of hard knocks for public speaking

Cellphones - every speaker's worst enemy.

Public speaking continues to be a bit of a challenge for middle-aged man Stu Hunt

Dreading the looming election

Many benefits of new personal tax system: Bill English

OPINION: When did maintaining New Zealand's democracy become such a tired and unattractive prospect?

Good money in shearing sheds

Learning the ropes on a shearing gang are William Mackereth, Lachy Shaw, tutor Wayne Roore, Rowan Williams and Brett McKay.

OPINION: There are plenty of career options down on the farm.

Eyes on the flies

The common house fly, a lousy house guest.

In this week's Sweet Home Motueka, Elise Vollweiler reports from the frontline in the war against house flies.

Council needs new model for addressing pond problem

Nelson City Council has committed to spending $1.2 million on Modellers' Pond at Tahunanui, but would that money be ...

OPINION: The Modellers Society has missed out on funding to fix their pond, but is using council money the smartest move?

The freedom to choose is one to fight over

There's no such thing as too much choice when it comes to indulging in some retail therapy.

Having a Freedom of Spiel doesn't mean you get to trample on every other freedom

Lighthouse life a bygone era

The Pages were largely self-sufficient, raising a family a six children.

Lighthouses today are invariably nothing but a bunch of flashing LEDs, but it wasn't that long ago that families filled their lives at these remarkable outposts.

Crisis support crucial for child cancer families

Megan Stephens came into contact with the Child Cancer Foundation when her daughter Gabrielle, 6, was diagnosed with ...

Say your child is diagnosed with cancer.

Winemakers join forces

Sir George Fistonich, Villa Marie Estate founder.

It is often said that making wine is the easy bit, selling wine is where the business really starts to get tough, wineries spend a huge amount of time and money on different forms of marketing and that was one of the key drivers for twelve premium family-owned wine producers to form an alliance – the Family of Twelve.

Negotiating the pothole questions of life

Potholes go from bad to worse in winter.

OPINION: There are many unanswered questions in life. Potholes are one of them.

Foolishly befriending a four-legged fiend

They may be man's best friend, but if a dog doesn't want to listen, it can quickly become our worst enemy.

Think twice before your next act of kindness, less it bites you in the backside.

Saving taonga on a wing and a prayer

St Arnaud during winter is a beautiful place, but bereft of bird song.

A recent trip to St Arnaud

Middle-aged Man: Hair today, gone tomorrow

Beautiful plumage

The range of hairstyle starts to shrink middle-aged man is not wide and varied.

Bullying: An unsolvable problem?

A Christchurch father has protested at Waimairi School after he says it failed to deal with bullying against his ...

OPINION: Can bullying be eliminated from our schools? Probably not, people being what they are.

Sweet home Motueka

Living in a small town doesn't have to mean living a small life.

In the first of a new series of fortnightly columns Elise Vollweiler shares her insights on life in Motueka.

Books cast an enchanting lifetime spell

Reading a good book, like the Hungry Caterpillar, can stay with you for years, and, if you're lucky enough, even in to ...

Grandma Gurney gives to me Gooseberry tart and hot sweet tea …

Dictating morality not a government job

Mabel Freer, left, had the public on both sides of the Tasman on tenterhooks back in the late 1930s.

Key events in our history have defined the way we view morality in our society.

Kai search and rescue

Kai Rescue volunteers Gileen Caughey, left and Jenny Holden, right, with Nelson Environment Centre manager Ruth ...

Child poverty is once again in the news.

The path of righteousness all about sharing the love

If we can learn how to share a pathway, we'll be able to solve any problem, even the big ones.

I owe an apology to a blameless young man on a bike who I recently accosted on one of Nelson's shared pathways.

The waisted years

There's no real mystery to middle-aged spread.

OPINION: Middle-aged spread has turned up uninvited.

Outdoor horizons a lifetime pursuit

Charli and Rosie Mirfin at Wharariki Beach, Golden Bay.

Zane Mirfin looks back, and forward, to invigorating outdoor adventures.

Signs of growing pains

Richmond's growing pains are vividly illustrated by lots of men in high-vis vests.

The WORKS END road sign has been on the street around the corner for the past month.  The metal legs holding the sign up, straddle the footpath and the gutter.  

Taking a stand for children

Dr Lance O'Sullivan, Northland, who jumped on stage at a screening of the movie Vaxxed in Kaitaia.

The country needs more leaders like Dr Lance O'Sullivan.

Figuring out maths is pi in the sky

Apart from the basics, for many of us, maths is an impenetrable subject.

An angel at my table helped me unravel the inner workings of an impenetrable subject.

First aid courses save lives

Merv Utting, Grant "Jock" Wyllie, and Garry Woods and his dog Quid.

OPINION: Three wives in three homes kissed husbands goodbye and wished them safe travels. Only two of these guys came home.

The garage sale of ideas

Bob Irvine's garage sale of quirky stories and sayings has something for everyone, and they're free.

Opinion: The difference between collector and hoarder is through-put, I maintain.

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