Friday, December 03, 2010


ABC News 24 covered the memorial service for the dead miners on New Zealand's south island today. Just an observation from someone overseas, interesting that none of those killed looked like they had foreign or Maori heritage. Is New Zealand mining a closed shop for white New Zealanders? Or won't the Maori or foreign types work that sort of job?

I could check who he was but there was one speaker at the service who was distinctly Maori. He spoke well and looked very regal. Perhaps he was the Governor General? If he wasn't, he could be.

The sky was blue with fluffy clouds. The sun shone, but not too hotly, with a temperature just below 20 deg.

Tributes were read out from leaders around the world, including three from their royalty, Liz, Chaz and and one of Chaz's kiddies.

The setting at the racecourse just outside Greymouth was just stunningly beautiful. Maybe the racecourse can be seen in this photo by David Wall. You can certainly see some big hills. Doesn't it look so pretty.

Well, another day, another disaster. Forty Israeli fire fighters killed in the line of duty, but Israel is not quite as close as NZ is to Australia.


  1. Andrew, there were a few foreigners, hence the four nation's flags at half mast. As for Maori, I don't think so many live on the Coast. The Scettrini family, and other of my goldmining ancestors settled on the West Coast. It is a beautiful place, and it has always had a 'special character'. It rains a whole awful lot there as westerly winds hit the Southern Alps. And the same Alps have meant that living on the Coast has always been quite an 'isolated' thing to do.
    I think you might mean the Governor General: he is actually of Indian descent.

  2. NZ is absolutely beautiful - but maybe not where mines are.
    We sympathise with the families of the dead miners, with the people suffering bushfire in WA, and those flooded in NSW.
    Could I just mention that some evil organisation has just allowed Australia to import NZ apples which have fire-blight that our apples do not have.
    absolute idiots.

  3. Corrected on your GG then KN. For some reason I thought you had a female GG. Of course yes, mining and west coast. So that is the area. It all looked exceptionally green, so plenty of rain explains that.

    Mod, mining does rather spoil views etc. Ah, the WTO, the org that ensures we don't have tariffs or barriers but everyone else can.

  4. I thought it was some Australian organisation that let the apples flow again. I read about that. Victorians have a thing about nasties in food. Why is that?

    I was going to say, without prejudice please, that I did not watch the memorial service, just like I do not watch funerals here. They are essentially private, personal tragedies that the rest of us - especially politicians - hijack for our own voyeuristic pleasure.

    I don't mean disrespect by this. In fact, I mean just the opposite. It is respect that leads me to this conclusion. Although I get flack due to it ...

  5. I caught the final 15 minutes of this telecast and had no idea who anyone was as there were no graphics naming the people on whom the camera focussed.

    I thought the final ceremonial act where ferns were placed on tables which held images and mementoes of each miner was very moving. It had me in tears even though none of the deceased was known to me.

  6. Julie, I understand that under pressure from NZ, the WTO is insisting we allow NZ apples in, but don't quote me. Clean and green is Vic. Now would you like GM or non GM?

    I thought a memorial service was a quite public event, unlike a funeral. Yes, of course pollies were involved.

    Victor, they were verbally introduced, but I agree, there should have been an occasional name and position across the bottom of the screen. I think I took the recycling downstairs and missed the bit you mention. Pity.

  7. I didn't watch it, either. So sad for everyone.

  8. Curious to base an assumption of 'foreigness' on appearance? You could argue that some of them WERE foreigners - ie Australian!

    Too much sadness for all involved.

  9. Poorly expressed Red. Yes, I would include the Aussies as foreign. Let me put it this way, it was a very Anglo workforce. I doubt a workforce in Australia would be quite so Anglo. I am used to seeing people around who look different to myself, who didn't come from Anglo Europe. I am used to non Anglo names. If I visit some of Melbourne's outer burbs like where my Tradie Brother lives, it strikes me how few non Anglo types are around and unsettles me a little. Further, mining is hard work and often the hardest work is left to the most recent immigrants and that is what really struck me, no obviously non Anglo workers.

  10. I can see where you come from with this, Andrew. I walked the streets of Launceston a few years back, and had this wierd feeling that something was wrong. It took me quite a few hours to put a finger upon it. No black(ish) faces. No turbans. I found THAT foreign.

  11. I don't think ethnicity would be the cause of all the miners being white - I think if you had a look at an Australian mining crew - especially way up the country it would be the same thing-
    You see its the opposite in the countryside - I am amazed when in Melbourne just how many people of non European appearance there are - most of these men most likely would not have come from a major city.
    There is not the community support of their own cultures to encourage people from India, the Middle East, Africa etc to move to the country and their community is as important to them as are our little support groups - and unless they have a mining background in their own home countries they are unlikely to seek it here - in time it will all even out as it always has done

  12. Sorry, didn't mean to sound critical - I really DID find it curious, and I take the points you made! I think the diff btw mining and any other hard/undesirable work is that mining is much better paid so is 'hard work', but is more desirable. Will therefore be interesting to see if Middle Child's prediction eventuates!

    Happy travels!!

  13. Julie, for me it Bangkok airport after two weeks in Vietnam. All those tall fair haired people were freaking me out.

    Nicely put MC. I suppose PM is quite mono cultural too. I did have an Indian workmate who left and went to work in WA mines and that was 20 years ago. Ok, he was Anglo Indian and quite pale.

    No need for sorry Red. You called me to account. Foreign types is an phrase I have used for a long time. Poor humour or a need for a descriptive term perhaps when one is lacking. Indeed time will even everything out. Someone should have told the WASPS that about the Reffos and dagoes.