Three contractors bid to fix a broken fence at the White House. One is from Chicago, another is from Kentucky and the third is from New Orleans. All three go with a White House official to examine the fence.
The New Orleans contractor takes out a tape measure and does some measuring, then works some figures with a pencil.
“Well,” he says, “I figure the job will run about $9,000. That’s $4,000 for materials, $4,000 for my crew and $1,000 profit for me.”
The Kentucky contractor also does some measuring and figuring, then says, “I can do this job for $7,000. That’s $3,000 for materials, $3,000 for my crew and $1,000 profit for me.”
The Chicago contractor doesn’t measure or figure, but leans over to the White House official and whispers, “$27,000.”
The official, incredulous, says, “You didn’t even measure like the other guys. How did you come up with such a high figure?”
“The Chicago contractor whispers back, “$10,000 for me, $10,000 for you, and we hire the guy from Kentucky to fix the fence.”
“Done!” replies the government official.
And that, my friends, is how the Government stimulus plan worked.
Remember — four boxes keep us free: the soap box, the ballot box, the jury box, and the cartridge box.
“I love my country … it’s the government I’m afraid of!”
It is an unforgettable story of frantic marching, extreme weather, brutal fighting and extraordinary courage of those caught up in the last great battle of horse, musket and cannon shot. –Historian, Tim Clayton
Not all over
By Roger Childs
It was March 1815 and the European great powers thought that Napoleon was no longer a threat to peace on the continent. They had endured over 20 years of war and were now in Vienna, feasting, dancing, playing up and occasionally negotiating the future map of Europe.
However, they were jolted out of their revelry and increasing political disagreement by the news that Bonaparte had escaped from the Mediterranean island of Elba and was being welcomed back to France. It was time for the allies to get back in the saddle and unite against the common enemy.
A legacy of on-going war
From the mid 1790s France was the dominant power in Europe. Following the French revolution in 1789 which overthrew the corrupt and autocratic Bourbon dynasty, the European monarchies were terrified that the revolutionary contagion would spread.
They decided to invade France, but ultimately, lead by a young Corsican soldier, the French turned the tables. Napoleon Bonaparte is arguably one of the greatest military strategists of all time and it was under his leadership that France came to dominate Europe. He redrew the map of the continent and helped spread revolutionary ideas from Spain to Poland.
However, in 1812 he made his greatest mistake: invading Russia. Although he reached Moscow, Napoleon was forced to retreat in the freezing Russian winter and lost most of his army. Under the inspirational leadership of Czar Alexander I, the well organised and provisioned Russian forces drove the French back across Europe.
The end of the Napoleonic wars?
By 1814, the Quadruple Alliance of Russia, Austria, Prussia and Britain, had defeated the French, exiled Napoleon to Elba and restored Louis XVIII to the throne of France. With the war seemingly over it was off to Vienna where a Congress was held to decide the future boundaries of Europe.
It was no easy task and in trying to distribute the spoils among themselves and nations that had supported them, they were soon at loggerheads. However, Napoleon’s return to France and overthrow of Louis XVIII, re-established the united front among the four powers.
When his attempts to negotiate a peace settlement with the other powers failed, Napoleon realised that he would have to defeat the coalition on the battlefield to gain recognition of his renewed rule in France. He rebuilt the French army and headed north-east to confront the Allied forces.
His fate and the future of Europe would be decided on a small battlefield in Belgium. The epic battle was fought in an area of only 8km².
Napoloen had some early successes in minor engagements, defeating
the British forces at Quatre Bras
the Prussians at Ligny.
However, both Coalition armies were able to withdraw in good order to fight another day. Surprisingly Napoleon failed to give instructions to harass the retreating Prussians, until it was too late.
The great general or the little corporal as many called him, was suffering from stomach cancer and his usual superb strategic instincts would often elude him in the coming days.
Wellington calls the shots
The Duke of Wellington led the main Allied army which consisted of thousands of Dutch, Belgian and Hanoverian troops as well as British divisions. Because Napoleon had to seek a battle, Wellington was able to choose the ground: near the village of Waterloo.
took the high ground
placed most of his troops behind a ridge
fortified two small settlements Le Haye Sainte and Hougoumont on the slope of the ridge to allow cross fire on the advancing French
forced the French to attack up the ridge.
A lethal one day battle: 18 June 1815
The battle raged all day and had many twists and turns. The weather had been dreadful in the preceding days with heavy rain turning the battlefield into a quagmire. This made it difficult for troops to advance, for cavalry to ride easily and for cannon balls to bounce.
Infantry in those days advanced in tight columns, so that once the firing began the casualties were horrific. Musket rounds always shattered bones so if you were hit in the arms or legs it was automatic amputation, that’s if you made it back to the field station.
Casualties were horrific and in the space of 12 hours
the Allies lost c. 22,000 dead or wounded
the French lost c. 25,000 dead, wounded or captured.
The heroism of the combatants on both sides was extraordinary as they fought on in dense smoke and incredible noise. Understandably in this age before field telegraph and cellphones, it was very difficult for the generals to communicate. Also leaders on horseback were easy targets for sharpshooters. Much depended on the intiative of local commanders.
The outcome was in doubt until the early evening. After holding off the French infantry advances and cavalry sorties, Wellington’s forces were under pressure late in the day, especially when the French eventually captured the ferociously defended Hougoumont settlement.
Both sides were anticipating reinforcements.
Napoleon hoped Marshal Grouchy, who had chased after the Prussians a few days earlier, would arrive with his 30,000 strong army.
Wellington was expecting the 50,000 Prussian forces under General Blucher.
Then out of the smog behind the French and on their left flank, Blucher appeared in the nick of time. Blucher greeted Wellington with Mein lieber Kamerad! Quelle affaire! Napoleon was doomed.
The Duke of Wellingtonwould later make this judgment of the battle “the nearest-run thing you ever saw in your life”
The Waterloo legacy
This time Napoleon was banished to the island of St Helena in the South Atlantic. Louis XVIII was again restored to the French throne and Russia, Austria, Britain and Prussia eventually redrew the map of Europe at Vienna.
The map would change drastically as the 19th century progressed, but in the aftermath of Waterloo and the end of 26 years of on and off warfare, the great powers established a process of meeting to discuss major issues on the continent.
Although there were many revolutions and localised wars in Europe during the 19th century, the great powers would not engage in a continent wide conflict until the horrendous war of 1914-18.
Our region was named after the Duke of Wellington, and naturally the city has a Waterloo Quay.
As most readers will know, after being on the market for some time, TV3 was finally bought by U.S. media company Discovery for the now disclosed amount of $20 million recently and the above question is the subject of this article on the Newsroom website.
Many see TV3 as just an alternate Legacy Media broadcaster to TVNZ and associate it with the annoyingly partisan (pro-Labour, anti-National) Newshub newshour and current affairs shows where political dominatrix Tova O’Brien and the equally irritating Jenna Lynch and Patrick Gower are regular features. Even the politically similar Newsroom says in the article: “Newshub’s underperformance, particularly at 6pm, is a problem Discovery will need to solve if it is to extract full value from increases in local programming after 7.30 pm.”
But Newshub a.k.a. TelePravda is only one aspect of what is a full fledged Free to Air channel which includes local programs — according to new boss Glen Kyne these are slated to be increased, and although entertainment like drama can be expensive to make, it also attracts bigger audiences. Having the backing of a big U.S. media company with plenty of cash should enable that.
“The first big change viewers will notice is the disappearance of Three Now (the old MediaWorks’ video on demand platform) and the arrival of Discovery’s new flagship streaming service Discovery +. No real surprise here, as acquiring a local launch pad for its digital ambitions was always likely to be the reason behind Discovery’s purchase of MediaWorks’ TV assets.
“Discovery+ is the US company’s response (albeit a slightly slow one) to the streaming revolution which has seen Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney+ grab a huge share of the entertainment market. Discovery added some serious firepower to its own arsenal recently by merging with Warner Bros. The deal adds CNN and a host of top dramas, including Game of Thrones, to Discovery’s stable of reality TV, nature and crime shows.”
Almost 100 birds of many shapes and colours have nested in Mahara Gallery, each one the creation of tauira (students) from two Ōtaki kura (schools).
Ninety-three pupils, ranging in age from five to 18, from Hato Petera Kaniera (St Peter Chanel) and Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Te Rito have turned their minds and hands to sculpting.
Ngā Manu – Birds marks the 10th anniversary of the Mahara–Ngā Manu Children’s Art and Environment Project, a collaboration between Mahara and Ngā Manu Nature Reserve, supported by the Philipp Family Foundation.
Philipp Family Foundation trustee Irene Mackle, speaking at the exhibition opening ceremony, described the current year’s project as “possibly the best yet”.
“The birds are absolutely beautiful,” she said. “It’s truly inspirational.”
It is the second time the two Ōtaki kura have taken part in the programme.
Seven years ago their exhibition, Wai Ora – Water Life, took the form of paintings, weavings and poems in te reo Māori as well as English.
“It’s wonderful to be working with them again,” says Gallery Director, Janet Bayly.
“Moving into the world of three-dimensional construction has introduced a fresh creative challenge that has enabled us to bring some new thinking to the project.
“We wanted to review and refresh some of our established ways of implementing the project to ensure it was delivering as well as it could to diverse tauira in Kāpiti schools.
“The project gained deeper significance and value after being delayed by Covid-19 and a seven-week lockdown.
“It was further enhanced by working with the kura who brought their strong wairua (spirituality) and connection to te taiao (the environment) to everything that we shared.”
Artists Michelle Walton and Harriet Bright guided the children through forming their birds out of tightly wrapped, taped and painted balls of paper.
The birds each gained their own unique character in ways that were deeply satisfying to their creators.
The project begins with a half-day at Ngā Manu Nature Reserve followed by a half-day at Mahara Gallery.
Janet Bayly says that, in the past, the project has been an indoor experience during mid-winter, but, for the first time, it began in late summer and the tauira could benefit from time in the ngāhere (bush).
“It was a real joy to experience the world of Tane up close, listen to ngā manu singing, examine their widely different nests and hear how Māori travelled through this special lowland forest hundreds of years before colonisation.”
The children’s work is also published in a new, locally produced, Mahara book which contains photographs of every child’s sculpture, photographs of their creative process and some of their written responses in poetry and prose.
Philipp Family Foundation founding trustee Robin Philipp describes the project in a foreword to the book as “innovative and fascinating, combining as it does the relationship of nature and art with experience of different environmental themes”.
“The theme, Ngā Manu – Birds, for this year’s project is indeed very close to our own hearts,” he says.
“We set the PFF up in 2006 to support research, education, programme development and services for the health and wellbeing of New Zealanders.”
The exhibition will be open at the Gallery until 17 July with four free art workshops for tamariki offered in the first week of the school holidays. [see Facebook, @maharagallery, and www.maharagallery.org.nz for details]
This is the second article by Ian Bradford which shows that Maori claims that they are New Zealand’s indigenous people are unfounded. (Read the first article here)
Evidence of the Moa Hunters living in Hawke’s Bay
By Ian Bradford
This is about a surveyor, farmer, amateur archaeologist Russell Price who devoted 25 years to a very substantial archaeological dig at Poukawa, Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand.
What follows is based on the extensive research of historian Martin Doutré. You can visit his website
Russell became involved in 1930 as a surveyor when a canal was built to drain part of Lake Poukawa, about 20 km south-west of Hastings. The canal was completed in 1931 and enlarged later in 1961. The partial drainage of the lake brought about 1800 hectares into pasture.
A section of mud exposed was found to contain many sets of long leg bones and feet of giant moa. Only the vertical leg bones were present. Later, Russell Price recounted to neighbour farmer Bill Buddo that he concluded that humans were responsible. He called these humans the Moa Hunters.
The Moa Hunters drove the moa into the swamp (as it was then), where they became trapped. The Moa Hunters then simply cut through the legs so that the bodies could be removed. Many pairs of legs were left standing upright in the swamp.
Sixty years ago well-worn moa tracks at various places were very prominent and could be seen easily. Price looked at the spot where the moa bones were found and then picked out the place where the Moa Hunters would have hidden before scaring the birds down into the soft mud. After cutting the body off the legs they would drag the body onto hard ground for plucking, cooking and eating. Cooking pits were found in later excavations.
Russell Price begins his archaeological digs
Russell began his excavations in 1956. Archaeological investigations in New Zealand were at their peak and it was an exciting age of discovery. Sadly, after the early 1970’s the openness gave way to disruption, censorship and growing interference.
In the course of building the canal, Russell noted that there were two stratifications of undisturbed ash from massive volcanic eruptions.
One about 186 AD — the Taupo ash some 1764 years before 1950.
The other the Waimihia ash fall around 3440 years before 1950.
These alone gave useful time signatures even without Carbon 14 dating.
Russell was meticulous in his digs. Before he broke through the Taupo ash layer he cleaned off the surface above to make sure there were no fissures in case anything had dropped down through. When he excavated down through the ash he could conclude that anything found there was before the 186 AD Taupo ash shower.
Price had a talk with a local Maori elder and laid out his strategy for the excavations. Anything found above the Taupo ash layer of 186 AD would be considered to contain residues from the Maori epoch of habitation. Underneath the ash, cut up and cooked moa bones bearing cut marks from obsidian knives as well as other man made artifacts were pre Maori.
(As an aside Dr Richard Holdaway, a Christchurch scientist, found rat bones beneath the Taupo ash. The kiore rat had been in NZ for at least 1100 years before Maori arrived in 1300 AD. The rat could only have arrived with humans. This was a very unwelcome find in some quarters.)
Systematic and meticulous recording of the evidence
Beneath the Waimihia ash of around 1340 BC were more cooked and broken up bones which had cutting tool marks on them. Artifacts in wood, bone, stone and shell were also found. After two digs Russell Price had undeniable proof of human habitation in New Zealand before 186 AD or 1100 years before the arrival of the Polynesian Maori. Russell then found another site with the same sets of vertical moa legs. He left them in situ and they remain there till the present day.
Russell recorded his finds meticulously with cross sections, diagrams, sketches and photos. He listed artifacts made from bone, wood or stone as tools or ornaments including some worked greenstone.
It is certain these objects came from below the Taupo or Waimihia ash bands thus dating the items to between 1000 years to 2200 years before the Polynesian Maori found New Zealand shores.
Verification from top New Zealand scientists
Russell then obtained access to the DSIR radio carbon dating laboratory. Moa bones that had been sawn by man returned C14 dates of 2330 years before 1950. Artifacts found beneath the Waimihia ash bed returned dates of 3440 years before 1950.
As a professional surveyor, Russell Price could lay out a site with great precision. Since he realised he was an amateur archaeologist, he constantly consulted noted professionals in archaeology, geology, stratigraphy and volcanology as well as experts from the DSIR carbon dating laboratory. Geologists from Victoria University visited the digs and confirmed Russell Price’s findings.
Leading New Zealand scientist W.A. Pullar also took a keen interest.
Pullar considered the lower ash to be Waimihia lapilli from 3270 years before 1950. He then went on to say that items found below the pumice band raised implications almost too daring to be true. Pullar remained guarded in his commentary, sensing that a firestorm may ensue.
Along with other scientists he later signed a statement of belief in support of Price’s conclusions. The document was not for public release.
The radiocarbon results have never been scientifically refuted though present operators of the radiocarbon dating laboratory have done everything possible to dissuade anyone wanting to view the results from scrutinising or believing them.(More on this in the third article)
Having Thomas Rafter as head of The Institute of Nuclear Sciences Russell Price had the assurance that his 25 years of meticulous work at Poukawa were well supported by science. He was confident of the ash band stratification and the C14 results. Unfortunately in the turbulent political era of the 1970’s and beyond his result became a most unwelcome find.
Another interesting find at Poukawa
Next door to an outflow stream of Lake Poukawa quite near to where Russell Price commenced his first archaeological investigations is a small hill with a lozenge shaped earthwork on its top.
The location gives an opportunity to get precise solar fixes onto the winter solstice rise and set, the equinox rise and set, as well as the summer solstice. This design duplicates the famous British artefact from the Neolithic age (8000-3000 BC), called the Bush barrow Lozenge.
One point of the lozenge points exactly due North. The configuration of the site appears to be quite similar to the Bush Barrow. It appears that the original builders had a surveying and solar observatory function in mind. There is yet another stepped and truncated pyramid in the Poukawa area. The farmer has fenced off the area to stop stock disturbing the area. These lozenges appear to be evidence of an ancient civilisation.
(In my third article I will examine the “official” attempts to discredit Price’s meticulous scientific investigations.)