Spectators at Auckland’s Hauraki Bay on December 20. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Marcus Wheatley is the head of financial services at Yellow Jersey PR in London.
Thanks New Zealand. Thank you for showing us what good looks look like. Thank you for giving the world the optimism that a brighter future is out there. Thank you for appearing in America’s Cup. Thank you to all the volunteers who gave up their summers for this. Thank you to the many people who packed the AC village. Thank you for giving hope to audiences around the world. Thank you for being enthusiastic. Thank you for encouraging. Thank you for watching. Thank you for hosting the America’s Cup so brilliantly.
I’m writing this from London drenched in rain on the shortest day of the year, locked in the highest tier 4 category with the rampant and highly contagious new Covid virus running rampant in the capital and the country. Turning on the television, we are greeted by adversity and seemingly endless calamities. I am afraid to leave my house. I am very worried about the welfare of my family. I fear, yes fear, a way out. The shops are closed. The bars will break and break. The theater closed with a barricade. The streets are quiet. The economy is in drastic decline. Really scared people. We’ve never seen anything like this before. Friends are dying. Many people are sick like never before. It’s a nightmare. Unspoiled nightmare.
So, what got you through? Well, everyone has their own poison. For me, I have several. Exercise puts me in a positive mood. I buy an exercise bike and spend up to three hours a day on it. Get me off the street. I walk the dog – he’s a lovely dog. I play computer games with my child. I am blessed with the best wife who is my rock. We’re talking. We support. In The Verve’s words: “I am a lucky man.” We’ll get through this. I’d love to go and see my boat in Cowes, but I can’t. I really want to go to a restaurant but I can’t. The list of restrictions is unlimited. But we are still positive.
But what gives me hope and encouragement more than anything else are the photos transmitted back from Auckland, broadcast free on YouTube. Getting up at 2 a.m. isn’t really your homework when the entertainment is so inspiring. It’s another world. Through visible glassware. And the smiling faces of Kiwi, sipping a beer or two, cheering at the Copa America really made it. And the faces of incredible children, wearing team shirts two sizes too big under adult hats and layers of sunscreen, faces painted with their national flags, cheering and screaming, free of masks and cleaners that literally brought them home.
I wish I was in New Zealand now – although I might get a visit from a grinder or two of Ineos – but I want to be there enjoying the sun and the atmosphere. A country at the bottom of the world but at the top. It’s amazing what you show.
Yes, the America’s Cup is an expensive thing to wear right now. Yes, there are social issues that need to be addressed and you have the right to question any public money that goes to the New Zealand Team. But please, don’t get under any illusion what is being accomplished here.
New Zealand presents itself on the world stage as a beautiful, progressive, intelligent, intelligent, forward-thinking, fast-acting, compassionate country rich in culture, heritage and with the best five million people on the planet. A flare shining in the dark. Leading the way on the water and beyond. Example. Where others can’t, New Zealand can.
Thank you New Zealand, it’s your time to shine and boy, boy, did you shine.
In a move that will send shock waves through Australian rugby, the New Zealand Super Rugby franchise is in talks to sign one of the standout Wallabies in 2020 for next season.
The Herald understands the playmaker James O’Connor has approached the Chiefs about moving to New Zealand in 2021, citing a desire to play in the toughest domestic competition in the world of Super Rugby Aotearoa and regularly testing himself against the best.
O’Connor returned to Australia from the Sale Sharks in 2019, signing a two and a half year contract with Australian Rugby and Queensland Reds, having not played for the Wallabies since 2013.
While O’Connor is looking to join the Chiefs next year, he is looking to continue representing the Wallabies after impressing under Dave Rennie this season.
Last September Rugby Australia announced that two players signed to overseas clubs who do not meet the 60-cap threshold and seven years of service under ‘Giteau Law’ could be selected for the Wallabies.
The Herald understands that O’Connor met Rennie on Friday to convey his desire to join the Chiefs and will then try to negotiate an exit from his Reds contract.
The move is therefore considered a 50/50 prospect, with no guarantee Australian Rugby will agree to its exit request. No decisions are expected before next week, with New Zealand Rugby giving the Chiefs extra time to finish their squad.
O’Connor has voiced several All Blacks about the potential to play at Super Rugby Aotearoa next year and believes the experience will greatly benefit his game.
The 30-year-old man’s parents are New Zealanders, and he holds a Kiwi passport after spending the early stages of his life here, so he views the possibility of moving to Chief as a kind of return.
After losing former All Blacks playmaker Aaron Cruden to Japan, the Chiefs have the first five-eighths Bryn Gatland and Kaleb Trask in their books for 2021.
Damian McKenzie, used mostly as a full-back by the Chiefs, could also take 10th if needed, but the prospect of securing an experienced figure like O’Connor, who can cover any defensive position outside of midfield, is a Hamilton-based possibility. franchising has soared.
O’Connor has long been extremely talented but off-field incidents disrupted his early career, culminating in a game-shattered exit from Australian rugby.
He was the second youngest to make his debut for the Wallabies in 2008, and the youngest to play Super Rugby at 17 when he came off the bench for the Western Force against the Reds that same year.
O’Connor has since represented six professional clubs in England, France and Australia, but confirmed his reformed ways with the influential 2020 campaign in which he helped guide the Reds to the AU Super Rugby final.
He went on to impress in the Bledisloe Cup opening draw against the All Blacks in Wellington from the first five, and after being sidelined for three games through injury, he returned for the Tri Nations final match as Rennie’s No 10 first choice.
The Chiefs are not alone in chasing foreign players to finish their 2021 roster.
Last week the Herald revealed the Blues were looking to sign Pumas midfielder Santiago Chocobares as the last member of their squad, although visa issues related to Covid-19 are believed to complicate the pursuit.
The Highlanders also secured Japan’s 8th place ranking Kazuki Himeno, one of the best players at last year’s World Cup. Last season South African wing Kobus van Wyk made eight appearances for the Hurricanes.
The New Zealand Super Rugby Squad is limited to a maximum of three foreign players, with one of the venues dedicated to Pacific Island players.
Weak spots: Char Bagh Gardens of Paradise in Hamilton Gardens. Photo / Michelle Langstone
Michelle Langstone traveled through Waikato from the mainland ahead of time to the future city of New Zealand
The fog had blanketed the trees atop Maungatautari when we arrived in the morning. The weather forecast promised rain, and the gray sky made the green of the trees almost electric, so bright. Mount Maungatautari Sanctuary is an “island” nature reserve on the mainland, and New Zealand’s largest fenced conservation project, located in Waikato. The fence stretches like a ribbon for 47 km around the reserve, and from a distance, looks like an aerial shot of dinosaur territory in Jurassic Park. The sanctuary is home to many native birds, including kiwi, takahē and kōkako, and runs a breeding program in an effort to increase population size and increase biodiversity. You can also find giant weta, tuatara, and North Island long-tailed bats in Sanctuary Mountain. About two hours’ drive from Auckland, this is a jewel in our conservation crown, and in a few years, if an anti-predator fence can be protected from climbing parrots, it could become home to a kākāpō population, for the first time. Endangered birds have existed on the North Island since the 1930s.
You can take guided tours day and night, and there is an option to get up close with kiwi, as well as glowworms. Our guide Sue has been volunteering and mentoring at Maungatautari since 2003, and she is knowledgeable and has a love for our native bush and its inhabitants. On the way to the shelter, he occasionally stopped to show us the plants, breaking leaves for us to breathe as he explained their uses. Holding tarata, sniffing the lemon scent, we walked the paths and studied the history of the shrine. It is beautiful and cool in native bush, and the rātā vines hang low, giving a primordial air. Sue is in charge of monitoring the kākā, and they know his voice, swooping in when he calls, following us to their diner. Three magnificent parrots landed about two feet from us, the red under their wings shining like wounds. We didn’t feed them today, and they watched us suspiciously. Sue can tell who they are from their band, and she speaks by their name affectionately, telling us about their habitual behavior as they watch. After an hour, Sue left us to walk the trail alone, and we passed the tracks and saw tīeke on the way back to the center. They chatter like babbling little dogs, telling us for bothering them. When we showed up, the rain had arrived, and we ran to the car, and headed to Kirikiriroa (Hamilton), where we were staying for a weekend break in Waikato.
Novotel Tainui is located right on the banks of the Waikato River in the heart of the city. Our executive rooms in the new wing feature floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the trees lining the river bank. The motif on the wall above the bed is cleverly crafted to look like a giant watercolor painting and reflects the colors of the river back to us. It is a spacious and quiet room and we were reluctant to leave it and come out in the rain, but venture to take a walk beside the beautiful river, and then go for lunch at Banh Mi Caphe, a Vietnamese restaurant on the waterfront. We recharged before our kayaking trip on Lake Karāpiro, and we ate a bowl of noodles full of tofu and mushrooms, fragrant with fresh herbs, and Banh Mi with ginger chicken and sriracha. It’s delicious, and even better washed down with cold Tiger beer.
Driving through the Waikato countryside is a pleasure. There is so much space and beautiful greens that I feel like I’m going back to my childhood, where every road trip was like this – expanses of pasture and farmland, punctuated by small towns to drop in for ice cream. At Lake Karāpiro, the sky is clear and the water is a mirror. I have only seen the lake on TV during rowing competitions, and I was struck by its abundance and the turquoise color of the water. Lake District Adventures is a family owned business run by Steve, one of the most genuine people in the world I have ever met. He took a group of us to the south bank of the lake at dusk so we could kayak and see the glow worms. Kayaking isn’t my gift, but Steve made everyone, including the much older crowd on our tour, feel confident. We were bundled up in wet weather gear and life jackets, taught how to navigate our kayaks, and then we left.
On the lake, Steve talks to us about the history of the area, and the way he shares information feels absurd and unconstrained – it feels like kayaking with friends who know the area. We paddled over the submerged Horahora Dam and studied the history of the small village of Horahora, then headed down the Pokaiwhenua River, and through canyons that had appeared over hundreds of years. The walls are lush with real ferns, and slipping through the water feels like we’ve gone back in time. We stopped by the river to wait until evening fell. Steve and his assistant Will handed him hot Raro cups filled with cinnamon, which sounded awful but delicious, and small reusable containers filled with pineapple chunks, and barbecue-flavored biscuits. This is another thoughtful touch to an attentive but understated tour, and the entire group descends on the food, munching on joy in the disturbing darkness.
When night fell, we were taken back to the river with instructions on how to navigate our way around the stone wall, following the flashing red light of Steve’s headlights. It was thrilling out there, and we came to a corner, swept away by the gentle stream, to a rock wall that had lived with glowworms. Seeing them from the water at night was so incredible that I almost forgot to breathe. The 20 minutes or so it takes us to paddle past is a revelation – I can’t imagine where else in the world you can do this and not be in danger, at least from an animal or an insect. Quiet and beautiful, quirky New Zealand, and the most fun I’ve had on the water in centuries.
All this adventure and fresh air meant that by the time we arrived back at Novotel Tainui we were starving. Silver Ferns and English Roses are having a netball game in town this weekend, and the restaurant at Novotel, Alma, is fully booked, but the chef sent us dinner in our room and it didn’t disappoint. I love the rēwena bread and horopito hummus, and the subsequent vegetarian risotto is light and fresh. My husband ate a ribeye steak with onion rings, and we shared a creme brulee for dessert, feeling spoiled, and watching the city lights sparkle over the river’s edge.
We slept soundly on the bed like a cloud in our room, and had to drag ourselves in the morning, it was so relaxing. We have a tea ceremony date, something I’ve always wanted to try. Zealong is New Zealand’s only commercial tea plantation, and its grounds are large and lush. We toured and studied the history of the company, and the tea itself. The tea ceremony did not disappoint; we tried five teas, from the sweet and spicy Zealong green tea, to the dark roasted tea. The experience is formal and calm, the water flows lush, the clink of polite bone china. After that, we had tea on the balcony overlooking the courtyard. With our newly acquired wisdom, we chose teas to drink with a small delicacy that lay before us – macarons with lavender scent, bites of halloumi and fish cakes. That’s two hours well spent.
Kirikiriroa is a much better name than Hamilton, and it fits the city’s recently minted title as New Zealand’s most beautiful city, a tribute it shares with Whanganui. It’s not hard to see why he won – there are so many beautiful green spaces and trees, and the river that runs through the heart of the city is truly beautiful. Another delight is Hamilton Gardens. I love the Paradise collection and head straight to Indian Char Bagh Garden, where the beautiful tiles and flowers always make me smile. Spring is well and truly emerging, and the smell of the blossoms in a traditional English Flower garden is a headache. We spent the afternoon wandering, and lost track of time, rounding it off with take-out coffee and scones from the cafe, which we took to the river’s edge, so we got one last look at beautiful Waikato before it was time to go home.
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Australian firefighters are struggling to control the massive wildfires that destroyed 40% of the UNESCO world heritage-listed Fraser Island before the heat wave hit Monday.
Fires on the world’s largest sand island, off Australia’s east coast, have been raging for more than six weeks and consuming much of the island’s unique forest.
Temperatures are expected to peak at 34 degrees Celsius (93 degrees Fahrenheit) on Monday as a heat wave sweeps across the region, raising fears that warmer conditions will further ignite the flames.
“The vegetation on Fraser Island is very dry and because it is so dry it is very easy to burn,” incident supervisor James Haig told Agence France-Presse (AFP).
Firefighters were not only fighting “extremely challenging weather conditions,” he said, but were hindered by limited access to the fires in the remote northern part of the island.
The Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service said the fires burned in two areas on 74,000 hectares (183,000 acres) – or 42% of the island – but did not threaten property.
However, as the fires have approached settlement in recent days, authorities have banned new visitors from traveling to popular holiday destinations and restricted ferry services until further notice.
Haig said as many as 10 water bombers had been deployed to extinguish the fires, including some tasked with protecting culturally important Aboriginal sites.
The plane dropped about 250,000 liters (66,043 gallons) of water on Saturday alone, but Haig said these efforts “will not stop the fire” but only slow its progress.
“We really need rain and unfortunately we will not receive it for some time,” he said.
About two-thirds of the state of Queensland, including Fraser Island, is currently experiencing drought.
Fraser Island – known for its large dingo population, or native wild dog – is registered as a world heritage site for its rainforests, freshwater mound lakes and a complex system of dunes that are still developing.
It is also called K’gari, or paradise, in the language of the local Butchulla people, and its spectacular setting attracts hundreds of thousands of tourists every year.
Smaller wildfires broke out elsewhere in Queensland as temperatures there soared after a weekend heatwave set a record crash in southeastern Australia, including in Sydney, where the city’s residents were inundated for two days above 40 C.
More than 50 wildfires broke out across the state of New South Wales on Monday, with heatwave conditions expected to return on Tuesday.
Australia is still reeling from the intense 2019-2020 fires, which scorched an area the size of Britain and killed 33 people as tens of thousands fled their homes.
The climate change-fueled fire season also kills or displaces nearly 3 billion animals and costs the Australian economy an estimated $ 7 billion.
The country is one of the world’s leading exporters of fossil fuels, and conservative governments have been on the edge on tackling carbon emissions, although recent polls show that Australians are increasingly concerned about climate change.
(MENAFN – NewsBytes) Actor Imran Khan, who shone through his debut film Jaane Tu … Ya Jaane Na in 2008, has no plans to return to the big screen, confirmed close friend and actor Akshay Oberoi.
Akshay, who is best known for his roles in Gurgaon and Kaalakaandi said, “Imran Khan has left acting … There is a better writer and director in him.”
Here’s more on this.
In this article I think he will direct the film soon: Akshay Akshay and Imran have known each other for 18 years Imran ‘Jaane Tu … Ya Jaane Na’ became a classic However, Imran’s acting career was short-lived He made his directorial debut with the short film ‘Mission Mars’
Details I think he will be directing the film soon: Akshay
In a recent interview, Akshay said, “My best friend in Bollywood is Imran, who is no longer an actor because he has stopped acting.”
“I don’t know when he will direct the film … I won’t put any pressure on it, but as a friend, I think he will be directing the film soon.”
He claims Imran will make “a great film,” whenever he is a director.
Quote Akshay and Imran have known each other for 18 years
“Imran is my closest friend, who I can wake up at 4 am and call. Imran and I have been together for almost 18 years, we studied acting together at the Kishore Acting School in Andheri West,” Akshay told the Navbharat Times.
Imran’s ‘Jaane Tu … Ya Jaane Na’ career became a classic
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