Sunday, November 29, 2020

Kāinga Pukapuka - My Home Library project

Young people who read will have greater resilience, empathy and educational achievement.  The Kāinga Pukapuka - My Home Library project gives children who might not have many books at home, 23 brand new books to grow their own home library.  Each pack costs $100 plus tax and postage. The books are provided by Reading Warrior and Duffy Books in Homes. 


I’m sponsoring five of these kāinga pukapuka - home library packs.


The Kāinga Pukapuka - My Home Library project is run by teacher/author, David Riley. 


Thank you for helping our young people become great readers. 


Ngā mihi mahana. 



Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Today’s 'What Counts' Factors in Rugby

Legendary Coach Brian Ashton and I were on a Zoom call a couple of weeks ago with Jason Wilcox, Head of Manchester City’s Academy.  Jason was taking us through his ‘What Counts’ factors for his Academy players and Brian shared his top three for today’s Rugby players:





Also works for Soccer too – think Kevin De Bruyne, Raheem Sterling, Sergio Aguero.



Sunday, November 22, 2020

You’ve Got To Laugh

The lighter side of life in lockdown from Alan Berson / Gary Edens.


Hard to believe 2020 has come to this:

1)    The dumbest thing I ever bought was a 2020 planner.

2)    I was so bored I called Jake from State Farm just to talk to someone.  He asked me what I was wearing.

3)    2019: Stay away from negative people.  2020: Stay away from positive people.

4)    The world has turned upside down.  Old folks are sneaking out of the house and their kids are yelling at them to stay indoors!

5)    This morning I saw a neighbour talking to her dog.  It was obvious she thought her dog understood her.  I came into my house and told my cat.  We laughed a lot.

6)    Every few days try your jeans on just to make sure they fit.  Pyjamas will have you believe all is well in the kingdom.

7)    Does anyone know if we can take showers yet or should we just keep washing our hands?

8)    This virus has done what no woman has been able to do.  Cancel sports, shut down all bars and keep men at home!

9)    I never thought the comment “I wouldn’t touch him/her with a six-foot-pole” would become a national policy, but here we are!

10)  I need to practice social-distancing from the refrigerator.

11)  I hope the weather is good tomorrow for my trip to the Backyard.  I’m getting tired of the Living Room.

12)  Appropriate analogy.  "The curve is flattening so we can start lifting restrictions now” is like saying “The parachute has slowed our rate of descent, so we can take it off now”. 

13)  Never in a million years could I have imagined I would go up to a bank teller wearing a mask and ask for money.

14)  The spread of COVID-19 is based on 2 things:

o   How dense the population is.

o   How dense the population is.


I guess you’ll all have your favourites.


Keep smiling through,

Just like you always do.



Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Active Ageing

Robin sent me a great article last week by The Atlantic / New York Times columnist David Brooks who had just interviewed 71 years young Bruce Springsteen on his new album Letter To You which I’ve written about a couple of times.


(If you haven’t already done so, watch the documentary ‘Making of’ on Apple – the story of the E-Street Band via the album.)


David makes some stimulating points in his October 23 article and here are some insights/sound-bites:

  • A 71 year old in 2020 looks like a 51 year old in 1935.
  • Roman statesman Cicero said “It’s not by strength or speed or swiftness of body that great deeds are done, but by wisdom, character and sober judgement”.
  • Springsteen is a world champion of ageing well – physically, intellectually, spiritually and emotionally.
  • Letter To You is rich in lessons for what successful ageing looks like.  Youthful, loud and hard charging – and serene and wise.
  • There’s a certain kind of older person – one who knows the story of his/her life, who sees themselves whole, and who now approaches the world with an earned emotional security and gratitude.
  • Creativity is an act of magic rising up from your subconscious.
  • Memory is many things, it is a call to resolve in us what simply will not go away.
  • The artists who hold our attention have something eating away at them, and they never quite define it, but it’s always there.
  • Even in his 70’s Springsteen still has drive.  He still has the burning need to communicate.
  • Successful ageing is the maturation of your thought process and very soul to the point where you understand the limits of life, without giving up on its possibilities.
  • Carry the losses gently, learn to live with the inner conflicts, get out of your own way, savour life and give other people a break.


Thank you Mr Brooks (and Bruce!).



Sunday, November 15, 2020

Feeding the Wolf

Son-in-law Mark Rolland just sent me this story.  He has adopted it as a personal Belief in his Personal Purpose.  Food for thought for all of us in these challenging times.  Thank you Sparky.


An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life.


“A fight is going on inside me” he said to the boy.


“It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves.  One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority and ego.”


He continued “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith. The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person too.”


The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather “Which wolf will win?”.


The old Cherokee simply replied “The one you feed”.



Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Autumn in Arizona / Friends and Memories

After 150 consecutive days of sunshine, autumn is drawing quietly in – the sun is rising later, setting earlier around 6pm, the Sonoran Desert is fading into a soft beige from cactus green, the skies are a little cloudier, evening temperatures are falling into the low 70’s – soon be time to put the outdoor courtyard evening fire on.


Last night we dined on Binkleys At Home, toasted the passing of the great Jerry Jeff Walker and listened to the Outlaw Country Cowboy’s playlist – including Viva Terlingua from 1973 – almost 50 years ago where it all started.  Cheers to Mr Bojangles, the Cosmic Cowboy, The Man with the Big Hat.




PS:  Friends and Memories:

Sunday, November 8, 2020

Some Tips on Caring Leadership

As we enter the ‘Second Half’ of the Covid challenge, statistics suggest that 40% of adults are suffering from mental health issues ranging from anxiety through to depression.  Isolation and disconnection are hurting all of us.


It’s vital for all of us to be checking in on our family, friends and colleagues to help any of those who might be struggling.


For the past six months I’ve been starting every meeting by asking participants to describe how they’re feeling using two adjectives to headline their emotions.  This gives you a rapid ‘health check’ and an early warning of people who could potentially be struggling.


Here are some practical pieces of advice from a young student doctor in Sydney (Zachery Dereniowski) that I found surprisingly obvious, and very, very helpful.


Five indicators that might suggest one of your people could be struggling.

  1. If they frequently say they are tired.
  2. If they use words like busy, stressed, overwhelmed, regularly.
  3. If they brush things off with short responses and seem emotionally disengaged.
  4. If they are disengaged in conversation on stuff they normally care about – “I don’t care”, “whatever”, “it doesn’t matter”.
  5. If they are ‘breaking patterns’ like punctuality, dress code, etc.

Six phrases to avoid when talking to someone who may be battling depression.

1.    Keep calm and carry on.

2.    It could be worse.

3.    What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

4.    Everything happens for a reason.

5.    Time heals all wounds.

6.    Get over it.



Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Light at the End of the Tunnel

Ignore the political side of the ex UK Prime Minister – what follows is a common sense, choiceful four-step proposal for all nations to consider for implementation now – not next month, not next year – now.


Developed by The Tony Blair Institute for Global Change and published on November 2nd, the paper lays out the steps we should take to counter the second wave of Covid-19 and use November to re-emerge in December stronger, freer, safer and out of lockdowns.


First some considerations.

1)   The first wave globally has had an economic cost roughly three times that of the Financial Crisis.

2)   The mental health issues arising from being disconnected and isolating are affecting around 50% of adults.

3)   (Hopefully) the world can look forward to vaccines and therapeutic drugs to manage the disease before April 2021.


So good times will return – but the issue facing all of us is how to Survive, Revive and Thrive, starting today.


Mr Blair in his Foreword to the Institute’s proposal says:  My anxiety is between now and then. We simply can't afford to put our society and economy into severe restrictions for the winter months. The toll in terms of health and the economy will be enormous.  I agree with him.


He goes on to say: “It is true that we now know a lot more about the virus.

We know how to reduce death rates significantly. We know more about how it is spread.

But increasingly, we know that the risks of Covid-19 are not simply about mortality rates.

We know that Covid-19 can affect people for long periods ....

And we are beginning to be aware that there is a significant possibility of long-term damage, particularly to the heart and lungs, possibly even among those who have had the virus relatively mildly.

For these reasons, Covid-19 remains a disease you should avoid if you can.

The only game-changers continue to be vaccines and therapeutics, combined with large-scale testing.


So – how do we change the game now?


Four proposals from The Institute:

1)   Any hospitalised patients at risk of serious illness should be offered drugs now that are safe and meet a minimum level of efficacy. There is no safety issue. We should give these patients the drugs and track the data from them. The AstraZeneca therapeutic drug – one of the most promising – is not part of the RECOVERY Trial in the UK, but we should speed up its introduction, even with limited doses being available.

2)   We should aim to get the first vaccinations underway in December. There is no safety issue with the vaccines like that of AstraZeneca’s, and efficacy even at 50 per cent is worth having because it will save lives and mitigate significantly the severity of the illness.

3)   Governments should organise the provision of rapid tests so that we're testing people rather than quarantining them for long periods, catching asymptomatic cases as well as those with symptoms present, and measuring infectiousness and not only those who have the virus. This needs full-scale organisation for schools, universities, workplaces and other categories to participate. This is pre-conditional to any successful track and trace system.

4)   We need the best tracing system in the world in place now, so that every aspect of Covid-19 data can be gathered together. That means all the information on patients; recording of every test and the setting up of a vaccine registration system so that as we vaccinate, every part of the experience is recorded.


We need to get organised.  And we need to Act Now.


(Go to the Institute’s website for their full, detailed proposal -