Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Waitohi - Pleasant Point Walk

04.09.19. While driving to teaching at Winchester via Temuka, Leah dropped me off, cnr Waitohi Rd / Pleasant Point Rd. I walked back to Pleasant Point past spring-green paddocks. Distant Alps looked magnificent, still with winter snows, great for skiers at Mt Fox & Mt Dobson ski fields. Lots of snow on Two Thumbs, Sherwood, Ben Macleod, Four Peaks, Mt Somers Ranges. Little snow on Albury & Rollesby Ranges. Grampian Range had lots of snow, but there was less snow on Dalgety Range & Hunters Hills, Mt Nessing & Mt Nimrod. I never tired, viewing those ranges on my Pleasant Point walks.

No hills on Waitohi Flats, so I could easily observe the shitty, brown pollution from cow excreta runoff in roadside ditches & culverts. Signs of local farmers over-stocking their cattle herds. NIWA would have a great time testing those ditches & culverts for bugs like E coli. Surprisingly, the stream below Ophi River terraces near River Rd crossing was free from cow shit, brown pollution. Braided Ophi River was low, but a fresh breeze cooled me when I crossed the bridge to Pleasant Point.

More unpleasantness on road verges was rubbish, like empty aluminium cans chucked from passing cars, most common Ranfurly Draught. I even found a green, plastic, bottle bong, a bit of hose pipe sticking out of its side. So much for locals' booze & drug free driving. The road was busy with truck & car traffic enroute to / from Temuka & Geraldine.

* 7 kms Waitohi - Pleasant Point, my time, 1.5 hours.

Alternative Waitohi - Pleasant Point walks:

* 8 kms Seven Sisters Rd turnoff - Pleasant Point.

* 8.5 kms Richard Pearce Memorial - Ophi Terraces Rd - Pleasant Point.

Copyright Mark JS Esslemont.


Saturday, July 6, 2019

Brashear Telescope, Lake Tekapo. Dark Sky Indeed

Sat 06.07.19. First day of the winter school holidays, I drove to Lake Tekapo to see the Brashear Telescope at the newly opened Dark Sky observatory, Lake Tekapo, S shore. In 2014, we'd lived at Lake Tekapo & lately we'd seen two trucks at different times hauling halves of the white, plastic, observatory, dome roof past our Pleasant Point rental to Lake Tekapo, incl a trek up Burkes Pass.

Leah & I had breakfast at the new Youth Hostel's burger cafe, then lunch at the new Dark Sky cafe, food better than crap served at other Lake Tekapo cafes & Spa. After 50 years storage, then lately refurbishment at Fairlie, The Brashear Telescope was impressively installed in a concrete & glass walled observatory by the Dark Sky cafe, so customers could see the telescope while eating. Through roof to floor, cafe, front windows, there were magnificent views of Lake Tekapo & snowy Two Thumbs Range.

Brashear Telescope info seen on the Dark Sky observatory, concrete wall:

The South Island of New Zealand
has the world's largest Dark
Sky Reserve and the view of the
stars is absolutely spectacular.

The Brashear Telescope is
a masterpiece of Victorian
engineering. I hope that the
Brashear Telescope will inspire
a new generation to learn about
astronomy and reconnect with
the stars.

Our patron, granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth,
Zara Tindall.

The Brashear Telescope is one of the world's most
famous Victorian telescopes. The 18 inch refractor
was created in 1894 by renowned Pennsylvanian
optician John Brashear. The pier, tube and
equatorial mount were fabricated by Warner
& Swasey Co of Cleveland, Ohio. From 1896 to
1954 the Brashear was based at the University of

The Brashear Telescope was hugely important in
the history of astronomy. During Percival Lowell's
studies of Mars, he famously used the telescope to
see sunlight reflected off the Martian polar
icecaps. The Brashear Telescope was also used by
Walter Leight in his early examination of Saturn,
where Leight first observed sub-divisions in
Saturn's rings.

In 1963 the University of Pennsylvania began a
partnership with the University of Canterbury
to establish a Southern Hemisphere astronomy
programme in Takapo / Tekapo at Mt John. The
Brashear Telescope was to be the centrepiece
of the new Mt John observatory but there was
insufficient funding to build the large building
needed and the Brashear Telescope was consigned to
storage for the next 50 years.

In 2016 the University of Canterbury made a gift
of the telescope to Tomorrow's Skies Charitable
Trust for restoration. In 2019 the painstaking
restoration was complete. We would like to acknowledge
Dallas Poll for his dedication to this task and his
incredible eye for detail.

Thank you to the Brian Mason Trust for their
support in restoring the Brashear Telescope.

                 UC                                       PENN                           BRIAN MASON                             University of Canterbury   University of Pennsylvania   Scientific and Technical Trust

Besides the high dome for the Brashear Telescope, the Dark Sky observatory bldg had a flat roof, high at the back, tilted towards the lake, with high, tilt-slab, concrete, back walls, blocking lake & mountain views for restaurants behind. An architectural cockup.

After lunch I parked at Tekapo Spa carpark & we climbed Mt John path to Mt John observatories on top. At the cafe we had tea while viewing Mackenzie Country, lakes & Alpine views. Many Asian tourists gawked & took selfies too.

Since our arrival in Lake Tekapo nearly 6 years ago, there was lots of development: Pedestrian bridge opened over Lake Tekapo outlet; revamped tourist carpark / buspark & fencing by tourist overcrowded Church of the Good Shepherd, Lake Tekapo shore; more campsites at Lake Tekapo campsite, new public toilets there, by the boat club; new Dark Sky observatory & cafe; toll entry for the road up Mt John to University of Canterbury observatories; overcrowding at Tekapo Spa carpark, due to walkers up Mt John & Spa customers; new Youth Hostel & cafe; new 4 Square supermarket & public toilets; congestion at public carpark, due to few carparks, supermarket entry & busparks (no bus shelter built, cockup); The Cairns housing development; new kindergarten; massive new housing development beyond Aorangi Cres, causing Lake Tekapo School to expand with new buildings 3rd term, 2019 (school bldgs. made in Christchurch, trucked to Lake Tekapo); Godley Hotel, revamped facade; another new hotel mooted; never mind Freedom Campers crapping all over the show...

Lake Tekapo, 700m above sea level, surrounded by Alps, was a cold place. Lake Tekapo village prided itself on clear sky & no light pollution. The above developments, especially new housing, would cause massive air pollution (due to home fires' smoke) & destruction of clear sky above Lake Tekapo. Dark Sky indeed.

Copyright Mark JS Esslemont.

See Brashear Telescope, Lake Tekapo.

See Church of the Good Shepherd, Lake Tekapo.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Christchurch Mosque Massacre

Fri 15.03.19.

RIP 49 martyrs murdered at Deans Ave Mosque & Linwood Ave Mosque, Christchurch.

Condolences to families & friends.

Linwood Ave Mosque, 7 killed, near Leah's old school. Kids had left the school earlier before schools' shutdown. Jake flatted a few blocks from Linwood Ave Mosque.

Deans Ave Mosque, 41 killed. Luke's girlfriend's kids arrived home after 5 pm due to school lockdown. 1 terrorist arrested by cops, Brougham St, near Luke's flat. 3 male terrorists, 1 female terrorist in custody, incl Aussie, Brenton Harrison Tarrant, to be charged for murder.

1 martyr died at Christchurch Hospital, gunshot wounds. 48 in hospital treated for gunshot wounds.

7 pm: TV1 speech by PM Jacinda Ardern, enabling "terrorist attack" jargon to be used...

Sat 16.03.19.

TV1: Bosses photo ops - Speeches by Christchurch mayor, Lianne Dalziel, 2 Christchurch Hospital bosses, Ambulance Service boss, Fire Service boss, Civil Defence boss, NZDF Liaison Officer, Victim Support lady & top cops Bush & Price, the cops praising their heroic minions ramming a car & arresting a terrorist within 36 minutes after Friday's POLICE EMERGENCY call out. After massacres at 2 Christchurch mosques, Tarrant was on his way out of Christchurch to murder more Muslims at Ashburton Mosque.

At Lichfield St / Tuam St, Court House, Brenton Tarrant was charged for ONE MURDER. Best way to keep him in gaol, more charges pending, till his April court appearance.

Christchurch Airport's departing passengers would be screened for 48 hours. Linwood Ave Mosque, 7 people killed. One of those killed was Luke's former Sullivan Ave neighbour. Jake's girlfriend's coworker had missed Friday prayers at one of the Mosques, due to work commitments. A fortunate escape.

Bush alleged one person attacked both mosques. All within 1 hour, approx 1.40 pm - 2.45 pm. The 2 Mosques, allegedly 5-7 minutes drive apart, it was fantastic timing for a terrorist to drive approx 5 kms, unhindered, from Deans Ave Mosque to Linwood Ave Mosque, through many traffic lights, through busy Friday afternoon traffic, without anyone seeing him toting a helmet video camera, 5 weapons, 3 handguns, 2 assault rifles, ammunition & 2 IEDs attached to his car, to murder 49 Muslims & injure 48 Muslims at both Mosques, according to TV1 News.

I've driven past those 2 Mosques many times & snapped pics of the Deans Ave Mosque during quake years. Although there were many possible routes to drive approx 5 kms, around Hagley Park from Deans Ave Mosque to Linwood Ave Mosque, the actual route the shooter took was via Harper Ave, Bealey Ave, Fitzgerald Ave, Avonside Dr to Linwood Ave. (16 traffic lights en route).

PM Jacinda Ardern & Foreign Affairs Minister, Winston Peters, visited a Christchurch refugee & immigrant establishment, Ardern wearing a black hijab. She said gun ownership laws would be changed. Who needed a killer assault rifle in peaceful NZ? During the day, locals placed flower tributes on the road island, opp Deans Ave / Riccarton Rd cnr & placed flower tributes against a Botanic Gdns wall, Rolleston Ave, near Canterbury Museum. 

At first, media were up to their tired narrative tricks again, gushed years before during Christchurch quakes, like Emergency Services heroes, resilient Christchurch people, event... (Later on media did more relevant reporting).

After receiving a Christchurch text from Luke about the shootings, my Facebook comments to RSA, Aussie, Scottish friends & family:

Fri 15.03.19. Shootout at both Christchurch Mosques this Fri afternoon. Reported 9 killings so far, many injured at the big Mosque near Hagley Park. Emergency Services & Christchurch Hospital going flat out. Christchurch in lockdown. Jake & Luke OK. Check out The Press or TV1 for breaking news...

@Diane: Thought I'd get the news out from the horse's mouth, so people like gran... don't panic from rumours...

Latest: 49 dead, incl 41 at Deans Ave Mosque, 7 at Linwood Ave Mosque, 1 dead of gunshot wounds at Christchurch Hospital. 48 treated for gunshot wounds at Christchurch Hospital. 3 male terrorists, 1 female in custody. 1 [to be] charged with murder. Aussie Brenton Tarrant in custody...

Jake's flat a few blocks from Linwood Ave at Woolston. Luke recently moved from Woolston to Spreydon. Leah's old school was not far from Linwood Ave Mosque. Fortunately the kids left school before lockdown. Luke's g.friend's kids only got home from school after 5 pm...

One terrorist arrested by cops at Strickland St [sic Brougham St] around the corner from Luke's flat...

Deja Vous Wit Wolf en AWB!...

NZ must wake up, not isolated anymore...

Mindless evil...

Sat 16.03.19: [Brenton Harrison Tarrant] was charged for 1 murder, best way to keep him in gaol, more charges pending...

Just heard that one of those killed was Luke's former Sullivan Ave neighbour. Media & cops quiet about who shot up Linwood Ave Mosque. Christchurch Airport departures being monitored...

@Rod message: [Referring to a Brenton Tarrant video] - Couldn't hear him, [I'm deaf] but he looks a nut case. NZ TV news obscures his face till his court case next month.

Sun 17.03.19. Death toll 50. RIP.

Sat 06.04.19. Paid respects at Deans Ave, Al Noor Mosque & Botanic Gdns wall, where 1000s of floral tributes from all over the world could be seen. Some tributes seen at the Botanic Gdns wall:

50 Wooden kiwis stuck on the back of an info board by Botanic Gdns gate near Canterbury Museum.

You are part of our community
and part of our nation. Do not be
deceived by one man's extreme views.

No isolated community should ever suffer such
a horrific attack just for having their own
beliefs. The people of Christchurch
are 100% standing with you and
supporting you.

Our thoughts and prayers are with
you during this difficult time.

Sincerely, Holly and Zara.





No matter what colour,
no matter what culture,
we are all the same.
Stick together Christchurch
now and forever.

EVA: Age 12.


He tried to divide us
but he only United us.
We stand beside you
Our Muslim friends.
We are so Sorry.
Kia Kaha.

                     Christchurch Chinese.

NZ is about equality and freedom.
Freedom to be who you want to be,
Do what you want to do,
Live how you want to live,
Believe what you want to believe.

New Zealanders are a mixed
bunch of all-sorts!
But together
we are

                                WE ARE

Ultimately, this act of hatred
has only succeeded

in making the Islamic
community STRONGER

and unifying the people of
this nation, Muslims and
non Muslims.


TOGETHER FOREVER [Written on a pair of slippers]

Let peace and love reign
over all people of this world. Sending
love to all at this sad and
                       difficult time.

To all the Muslim Community:
  May the good memories of
       your loved ones be of
         comfort to you and
         carry you through
             this sad time.
               Kia kaha

      HOME IS

                       ONE RACE
              THE HUMAN RACE!
                  All the way from
                       Titahi Bay!
                    Porirua, Wgtn.

Words are unable to express the
shock and grief we feel for what
has happened in our midst.
May our collective thoughts
and love and prayers help to
comfort you. May we all work
together to ensure that this
never happens again and that we can
reach out in our love and understanding.
            Thinking of you
      our brothers and sisters.
You are not alone. We are one
         People of Aotearoa.


    Different Cultures
  Different Religions
Different Communities
      One Family

  We are Christchurch
       We are NZ
        Kia Kaha

May all those who died be
in peace.

May all those injured be
comforted and surrounded by
our love.

May all those left behind be
strengthened with the knowledge
of love and support from all in

My Heart Goes Out                  15.03.09
To Our Muslim Community

Love thy neighbour
as thyself
Kia Kaha

It is a Jewish tradition to place a
small stone or pebble at the grave
of a person who has died.
This is a symbolic act to indicate
that someone came to visit and
the deceased will not be forgotten.

Stones last for eternity like the
memory of loved ones.

Immediate family members of
victims should feel free to take a
stone if they wish.

       ONE [On a USA flag]


OTAUTAHI [Christchurch]


                 May peace be upon you.

        We stand in unity with the Muslim
           tangata whenua (people of the
     land) against these hateful acts of terror.
                           We are one.
                      La gra. / With love.

Your friends, colleagues and neighbours from
           the Christchurch Irish Society.

If we have no peace it is because we have
forgotten that we belong to one another.
                                         Mother Teresa.

   In our thoughts, with our deepest love.
The people of Forsyth Barr Christchurch.


    [Laminated photo].

Remember this shooting
victim. He's not one of
the few chosen for the
news stories, but there
were 50 people murdered
and they all need their
stories and lives remembered.

      Mo Mojammel Hoq
Much love and missed XXX

[Redacted name of shooter] is                                         Diversity
          Behind the bars.                                                         Our
        Unfortunately his                                                      Strength         
          ideology is not
  # Take a stand against it.


All good things in
   the world have
already been said.
  It's time to just
    act on them.

         # No to hate and terror.
            If NZ is like a vessel
of milk filled to the brim, then
consider immigrants as a pinch of
sugar. We'll not bring the vessel
to overflowing, but make the milk
sweeter. We are together. Love.

      This is not "us".
     We are all Kiwis.
We value and celebrate
diversity and difference.

      To all of those people who
        lost their lives and to all
         of the families who lost
their loved ones, we want to say we
   are sorry. We are sorry for what
           has happened. R.I.P.
       7MW  Medbury School.

No-one is born hating another
person, because of the colour of
his skin, or his background, or his
religion. People learn to hate, they can
be taught to love, for love comes
more naturally to the human heart
than its opposite. Nelson Mandela.

Love, Amy, Fernand, Sienna & Isabella.

I promise to
make a

With heartfelt
sympathy for
your loss.

I came as one
but stand as ten thousand
               Maya Angelou.

       Jewish Community
                    Seattle WA

Tanq, Hamza, Sayyad.

3 wonderful young men
taken so young, 3 beautiful
souls taken to paradise.

Gone but NEVER forgotten
Thoughts and prayers for all of the families
affected by this tragic event.



that chooses to call
New Zealand home
has the right to:
Love +


Appreciate that you made the effort to find out the timing of our noon prayer.
Appreciate that you learnt more about our religion to know that Fridays are the days the men go to the Mosque for their congregational prayers.

But I guess there were some things you, rather unfortunately, didn't get to learn.
Perhaps you didn't know that you did probably made [sic] them Martyrs.
And how you have single handedly raised the statuses of our brothers and sisters in the eyes [of] their beloved Creator with your actions.
And how, through your actions they will be raised as the most righteous and pious of Muslims.
Perhaps you didn't know that the doing that you did at the time and place you chose, it actually
meant that the last words that escaped their lips were probably words of remembrance and
praise of Allah. Which is noble and many Muslims could only dream of.
And perhaps you didn't know, but what you did would almost guarantee them paradise.

Appreciate that you showed the world how Muslims welcome, with open arms, even people like yourself into our Mosques, which is our second home.
Appreciate you for showing that our Mosques have no locks or gates, and are unguarded because everyone and anyone is welcome to be with us.
Appreciate you for allowing the world to see the powerful image of a man you injured, lying on
[his] back on the stretcher with his index finger raised, as a declaration of his faith and complete trust in Allah.
Appreciate how you brought the Churches and communities together to stand with Muslims.
Appreciate that you made countless new Zealanders come out of their houses to visit the
Mosques nearest to them with flowers and beautiful messages of peace and love.

You have broken many hearts and you have made the world weep. You have left a huge
But what you have also done has brought us closer together. And it has strengthened our faith
and resolve.
In the coming weeks more non Muslims will turn up at the gates of Mosques with fresh flowers
and beautiful handwritten notes. They may not have known where the Mosques in their area
was. But now they do. All because of you.
You may have achieved your aim of intended destruction, but I guess you failed to incite hatred, fear and despair in all of us.
And while I understand that it may have been your objective, I hate to say that after all that
elaborate planning and the perverse and wretched efforts on your part, you still failed to drive a
divide among the Muslims and non Muslims in the world.
For that, I cant say that I'm sorry.
                                                                                                Jinghan Naan, Singapore.


ONE   15.03.19               


One day can

KALID [smiley face]

  THEY                                                                       WE STAND
ARE US                                                                     TOGETHER

Our thoughts
are with you
          Dave & Chris


                   [Watercolour painting: Victoria Mansions
                    & Victorian Clock Tower, cnr Victoria St / Montreal St]


Our hands reach out
to you with our love
and support

From Active Explorers' Daycare, Nelson

We are many
Nations not one.
                  Love not


My deepest sympathy.
I am thinking of
you all. Stay strong.
Lots of love,
        Susan: From Perth

Love                     Peace
Compassion         Christchurch

He ora te whakapiri
Strength in unity
Kia kaha Otautahi

[Crying kiwi pic]

As Salaam alaykum




To all our Muslim brothers and sisters. Please know that you are not alone in your grief.
One person's madness does not represent anything of any value.
And at this time I have to add my voice to those who stand for peace.

Although we may not have met, you are in reality my brothers and sisters.
We all live together under the same sky and sun shines equally on everyone.
Although we may have different cultures and beliefs
We can celebrate our differences and let them enrich us all.
Just as many different coloured flowers make a garden, and the different colours of the rainbow make the world a more beautiful place.

Let us hope that this time can be a catalyst for new hope, where
everyone will know they are welcome respected and safe here in the home we
share together.

Love and best wishes,
          Jan. Sonya



Give no tolerance. Give no cheers. Give no
laughs. Give no likes. Give no acceptance.
Give no attention. Give no smiles. Give no
welcome. Give no nods. Give no high fives.
Give no kudos. Give no respect. Give no
air time. Give no agreement. Give no place.
Give no support. Give no encouragement.
Give no power. Give no amplification. Give
no money. Give no audience. Give no fuel.
Give no indulgence. Give no endorsement.
Give no home.


                1 John 4:18

           ONE          NEW ZEALAND
                                  YOUR HOME


To our whanau in Christchurch,
we are with you at this time, Our thoughts
our prayers, our love. You are our family and our
whanau, our people. You are always welcome
here and you will always be part of our
identity here in New Zealand. We stand with you.
We mourn with you. We share in your pain
at this time. Kia Kaha Christchurch
Ota atu mei a mautolou kia moutolou kotoa.
Love from us to you.
Connection Co Church, Manurewa.

Together we are one.
Lots of love from the learners at
Riccarton Primary school.

[Pic of crying male head]
         We love
     you so much

Many beautiful flowers have
been picked from our
Garden City, but they will
continue to bloom in our
City's Garden forever.

May peace
  be upon


You are us [Pic of woman's head wearing a hijab, a Kiwi fern symbol across it]

16.04.19. Christchurch City Council info board by the Botanic Gdns tribute wall said:

                       What's happening 
                     to the floral tributes?

With the support of the Muslim community we
have begun the process of carefully removing
some of the many floral tributes left here
following the mosque attacks.

The tributes will be sensitively sorted through
at the Arts Centre, with cards kept, flowers
composted and wrappings reused as far [as] we
are able to.

You are still welcome to place fresh
flowers along the wall.

For more visit: ccc.govt.nz/newsline

06.04.19. Some tributes seen at Al Noor Mosque, 2 cops, toting semi-automatic rifles, guarding the front entrance:


Like having a
nuclear bomb dropped
on our land.
New Zealand will never
be the same again

WE ARE ONE [Pic of woman wearing a hijab]

Dear Sayyed,
Our dear beautiful
friend, we will
always remember
your calm way
and gorgeous smile.
Rest in peace.

This was your home. You
should've been safe here


[Maori script]
May peace be widespread.
May the sea be like greenstone.
a pathway for us all on this day!
Let us show respect for others.
Bind us all together.
Ki Kaha

Rest easy

To all the families who
have had their lives changed
forever. I am very sorry for what
happened to your family. I am
thinking of you.
Lots of love from Ella McNicholl
(10 years old)

To our Christchurch whanau:

Again we send aroha and uplifting
wishes to the people of the
garden city.

We can never feel your pain but we
stand beside you.

             Kia Kaha
            Room 12
Onewhero Area School

Kia Kaha Christchurch.
Dear Christchurch please stay strong.
From Tikahia.

We are a nation of people with many different religions,
skin colours and ethnicities, but we are all New Zealanders living,
working and playing together in beautiful Aotearoa.
We won't let this evil deed divide us, but rather bring us closer together
and stand up against racism, bigotry and terrorism. "We are one."

We are Christians and our hearts go out to the
Muslim community, the victims, their families
and friends. We share the loss of your loved
ones and are grieving with you.

Love peace and unity to everyone.
God be with you.

Larry & Joy Oakly (Nelson).

We never knew
you but you
will always be in
our hearts.

You are with us
in our hearts.

This is your home,
you should have been

[Pic of oldest man shot, an Afghani]


Nofa                                                                 Ofa
ia          [Pic of a woman wearing a hijab]        atu

This is not who
we are. We love
and embrace you
in our community.
This is your home
and we are sorry
you were not safe.
The Puru whanau
stand with you
now and always.
Tino Nui aroha.

To all my Muslim
brothers and sisters
      [Heart pic]

We are so sorry for
        your loss.

We will remember

[Pic of 2 hugging women in Muslim dresses]
                   This is your home
                 and you should have
                      been safe here.

  To all the victims
who died on Friday.

May our God forgive
    this person who
took your lives away

We condemn this act of hatred.
         We stand with you.

    In unity
    there is


Lets rotate this EVIL
into starting to LIVE

     [Yellow T shirt]
Love & prayers from
             all at
 Vendetta Polo Team

                                            To all Kiwi cousins
Innalilahi Wainailahi Rojiiun: From God we come, to God we return...
We are appalled this happened to your community and our heart aches for your loss.
We stand with you and send our condolences and love your way.
Read 3'z Re-Vu
Network of Readers: Sydney, Australia.

[Pic of goalkeeper]
R.I.P. Atta Elayyan


I [heart pic] New Zealand
I am pilipino
I Muslim
I am strong
I am proud to
Stay New Zealand
     ... ASHRAIN

Permanent sign on Al Noor Mosque wall:

      Canterbury Islamic

Thurs 11.04.19. TV1 reported NZ Parliament changing gun ownership laws, banning semi-automatic rifles, ammunition & attachments, like magazines holding more than 9 bullets. And a Buy Back Scheme for gun owners to return 1000s of semi-automatic rifles to NZ Police. Since the Mosque shootings there was whining from gun salesmen, sports / hobby shooters & farmers. Farmers complained about rabbit vermin. Farmers didn't need semi-automatic rifles to kill rabbits. Shotguns & poisons like Brodifacoum would do.

Tues 16.04.19. I wandered past Linwood Ave Mosque - 2 cops with holstered automatic pistols & toting semi-automatic rifles guarded the driveway entrance. Boards on an entrance fence said:

                                                    LINWOOD ISLAMIC CENTRE
                                                    223A LINWOOD AVENUE
                                                    LINWOOD CHRISTCHURCH 8011
                                                    PHONE 021 166 5965
                                                    LINWOOD ISLAMIC CHARITABLE TRUST
                                                    INCORPORATED - 2652272
"Certainly the obligatory prayers have been prescribed to the believers to be performed at specific times." (Al Quran: 3-Verse-103) ...

                                     THANK YOU NEW ZEALAND
                                          WITH AROHA & PEACE
                                  FROM THE LINWOOD MUSLIM

By a nearby Buckleys Rd bus stop 2 posters said:

                NO ROOM FOR
                RACISM HERE
              TO OUR MUSLIM


A New Zealand Police ad in The Press said:

[Pic of 3 rifles including 2 semi-automatic rifles].

                            Help Keep
                              NZ Safe
                     Firearms Amnesty

                         Firearm laws
                         have changed.

                      Notify Police of your
                prohibited semi-automatic
                    firearm online today.

If you have a prohibited semi-automatic firearm in
your possession, you now need to notify us online.
There is a firearms amnesty in place and we need
your help to keep New Zealand safe.

For more information and to notify us online
visit police.govt.nz or call 0800 311 311
In the meantime, continue to store all firearms
safely and securely.

Notify us online today
at police.govt.nz

         NEW ZEALAND
Nga Pirihimana a Aotearoa

03.05.19. The Press report: Death Toll 51. Injured Muslim man had died in Christchurch Hospital.

15.05.19. Due to livestreaming of the Christchurch Mosque attacks, motivated by NZ PM Ardern & French President Macron, Facebook together with other internet companies Microsoft, Twitter, Google, YouTube, Amazon signed the Christchurch Call to Action to combat terrorist activities on social media.

Copyright Mark JS Esslemont.

See Death threats for members of gun club linked to alleged Christchurch terrorist (The Press / Stuff Co).

See Christchurch attacks how police & citizens responded (The Press / Stuff Co).

See NZ Police. 

See Christchurch City Council newsline.

See Christchurch Call to Action (Facebook).

Monday, February 11, 2019

North Opuha Track to Spurs Hut.

11.02.19. I drove from Fairlie along Claytons Rd, beyond the monument, left turned at Mt Fox Ski Field turnoff & 7 kms hence parked at the Fox Ski Field / DOC carpark. I wanted to walk the 7 km North Opuha Track to the old, 1896, Spurs Hut. (Map ref: 288452). The track rose gently, with undulations, from 660m at the DOC / Ski Field carpark to 800m at Spurs Hut.

By the carpark was a DOC Intentions Book to be signed, 2 DOC signs & 4 private signs reading:

       Department of Conservation
Via public access through private land...

              FOX'S PEAK STATION
               PRIVATE PROPERTY
                    NO HUNTING
                 SHOT ON SIGHT


            Permission must be
              obtained to enter

           Department of Conservation
                 Public access through
                        private land
      Keep to 10 metres wide easement
                  Please close gates
            There is no public access to 
                 Fox Peak Ski Field       

           CAR ONLY BRIDGE
        MAX WEIGHT 2500 KG
            OTHER VEHICLES
                   USE FORD
                   SKI FIELD 
                      PH 03...

The vehicle ford was upstream, a low stone bridge covering concrete pipes allowing North Opuha water flow.

A cool morning, I wandered upstream on the the true left bank of North Opuha River flowing from a vast watershed, swampland, below Sherwood Range westwards, Ben McLeod Range northwards & Low Claytons eastwards. The watershed's, west-east, widest area, about 1.5 kms wide, was below Walkers Spur, Ben McLeod Range. The watershed narrowed considerably southwards towards DOC carpark between Fox Peak in the west & Low Claytons in the east. Above track, Low Claytons gave morning shade, before hotting up to a scorching afternoon.

For 2 hours, North Opuha watershed on my left, I tramped past Fox Peak, 2300m, with glimpses of summer-snowless, Mt Fox Ski Field, 1330-1900m & beyond past 4 Sherwood Range spurs with steep valleys between. The track eased northwards by Fox Peak Station fences towards Walkers Spur below Ben McLeod Range. En route I met a young hunter tramping down stream & greeted: "I'm deaf. I won't hear you. Did you shoot anything?" He shook his head & greeted, a praying gesture, palms together, pointing up, smiling & bowing.

The track sidled NE over a small saddle into the Orari River watershed, swampland, surrounded by Low Claytons, High Claytons & Ben McLeod Range. Another DOC sign by a gate read:


A DOC sign on the gate read:

Public access through private land
No shooting - private land
Keep to 10m wide marked easement
Please close gates
Do not disturb stock

The relationship between DOC & shit polluting stock in that watershed was nuts! NZ was heavily polluted with cattle shat waterways.

Midway across the wetland, beyond DOC land (?)  a line of willows sheltered black cattle from midday sun. The contrast between sparse overgrazed vegetation on private farm land & luxuriant grass growth on DOC land was stark: Low Claytons had farm roads on the hills & sharp spear grass amongst stunted tussock. Brown, muddy streams I'd passed below Low Claytons trickled down to North Ophua swampland. Few butterflies by farmlands. My aluminium walking sticks enabled me to gauge muddy depths before stream crossings. Argyrophenga, Tussock ringlet butterflies, brown with black & white eye-spot wings, abounded in DOC tussock land, sucking nectar from tiny Wallenbergia flowers & others. Butterfly abundance was a sign of good DOC grassland conservation & bad pesticide use on overgrazed Alpine farmlands.

For another hour the rest of North Opuha Track sidled around the end of Walkers Spur through Orari River watershed, tussock land to Spurs Hut, a small, 4 bunk, corrugated iron hut with wooden decking, porch for logs, basin, wood saws, chopper & inside fireplace, wood stove, grubby utensils on a kitchen work bench, DOC info signs & map on a wall, food left by other trampers / hunters, like tinned food, Watties tomato sauce, plastic bottle... Empty beer cans, booze bottles & a DOC Intentions Book were on a shelf above the fireplace. An empty wood basket was by a wooden bench on an unswept floor. A DOC wall sign read:

                                   ! Danger

The use of gas or liquid fuel, cookers, heaters and
lights in enclosed spaces can be highly dangerous
and could lead to death by Carbon monoxide
poisoning. When using any of these appliances
leave a window or door open to ensure adequate

Midday, the iron hut was like a sauna, so I lunched outside in the shade of the stone chimney viewing the Orari River watershed in the Alpine basin & green longdrop. 2 mandarins & biltong scoffed.

On my return trek I finished all my bottled water, over 2 litres. Alpine sunburn danger.

Distance: 7 kms each way, 14 kms return.
Climb: 140 vertical metres.
Time: 6 hours return, excluding lunch break at Spurs Hut.

Caution: Tramping & hill walking fitness needed. I always backpacked food & water on my Alpine tramps, incl winter & wet weather gear, hat, as well as aluminium walking sticks (for emergency tent) tent rope, blue tarp, Topo50 map, matches, space blanket, cell phone for emergencies. There was no cell phone coverage at Spurs Hut due to surrounding Alps.

Personal Locator Beacons were too damned expensive (NZ$300 - NZ$1000+) yet whenever someone was rescued, rescue authorities spouted media gobbledegook about trampers / climbers needing locator beacons to help their rescue. Daily hiring a PLB from a Fairlie shop was a pain, as the shop only opened at 10am for equipment hire. I'd already tramped 2 hours by that time, early starter to avoid heat exposure.

Copyright Mark JS Esslemont.

Monday, January 28, 2019

Daisy Fields, River Road

Mon 28.01.19. While Leah attended a teacher training meeting at Seabrook McKenzie Centre, London St, I did a short, circular walk along red zone, Avon River bank - London St, Fitzgerald Ave, River Rd, Stanmore Rd, London St, a half hour walk.

A torn sign on Fitzgerald Ave bridge rail read:


The bridge had been continuously used since the 2010-13 quakes, spans anti-clockwise rotated, NE abutment skewed by the quakes, bridge roadworthy over Avon River.

Cnr Fitzgerald Ave & Harvey Tce: Red Zone, vacant land, where post quake CERA govt dept had bought houses along River Rd forming a small part of the post quake, residential red zone (about 4x the size of Hagley Park) on quake liquefactioned land. CERA had proclaimed red zone, so-called quake damaged land, paid out owners, demolished 7500 houses, cordoned & fenced red zone land & after 5 years had handed over the taken land to LINZ (Land Information NZ). It had been a huge land grab by NZ National govt, trampling citizens' land rights, taking vast areas of Christchurch private land, using quakes & a reluctance by NZ National govt to rebuild infrastructure as excuses to take red zone land. ("Take" official CERA word, not mine). Never mind NZ National govt saving insurers mega-bucks in insurance payouts. Disaster capitalism at its best / worst, depending on viewpoint.

I read a Council info board extolling Victorian virtues on that section of River Rd between Fitzgerald Ave & Stanmore Rd, Daisy Fields, where Victorians had picnicked & watched rowing regattas by Avon River boat houses. Victorians had got that right - river bank sloping, enabling grand views of Avon River boating & regattas. Since the quakes, there'd been various suggestions for residential red zone land use. Presently a river walk from city to sea went along Avon River banks - great white footprints painted on abandoned, cordoned, red zone roads, like River Road.

A riverside Council sign read:

     TE ARA
     10 KM

3 Signs on cordon fences, both ends of River Rd at Fitzgerald Ave & Stanmore Rd crossings read:


           CALL LINZ...


Red zone cordon signs had been on fences since NZ National govt / CERA had appropriated the red zone. Citizens had walked the cordons ever since, still banned from the residential red zone 8 years post quakes. All houses along River Rd had been demolished by CERA, just garden grass, flowers & shrubs left, yellow Daisy Fields blooming again, parkland, fence cordoned, intermittent fence signs reading:


Alongside River Rd, AVONSIDE TENNIS CLUB courts was the only structure not demolished by CERA, amidst yellow Daisy Fields. Perhaps Council & govt agencies could consider rowing regattas again by Daisy Fields beside Avon River? A beautiful, peaceful spot, despite busy Avonside Dr on the opp river bank. When will red zone cordons completely open for citizens?

23.02.19. The Press reported that ever since Lange's 1980s Labour govt, succeeding NZ governments had  pillaged EQC's National Disaster Fund to balance government books. That included Treasury oversight, Bolger's & Shipley's National govts & Clerk's Labour govt. During Key's National govt, soon after the 22.02.11 quake, EQC was insolvent. None of those governments ever revealed to Kiwis government pillage.

Key's National govt enabled 2 states of emergencies, military cordoned, red zoned CBD checkpoints for 28 months, CERA delays in demolitions / rebuilds, red zone residential land grabs & overseeing slow EQC payments. Never mind anguish caused to 1000s of citizens. PM Key jabbered about "a Rock Star Economy," wasted megabucks on a flag referendum, restructured Christchurch schools by mergers & closures, while EQC officials delayed assessments, payments & repairs for over 470 000 claimants (2010-2018). Key was awarded a knighthood. CERA minister Brownlee covered up EQC's insolvency, overlooked Fletcher's botched repairs, denied a housing crisis in Christchurch & hailed MBIE bldg code guidelines, enabling crap repairs. EQC boss Simpson, despite enabling EQC's slow assessments, payments & repairs to protect whining insurers, became GNS Science boss in January 2017. Shame on the lot of them. 

Meanwhile, 8 years post quakes, despite 2 Royal Commissions of Inquiry, Coroners' Reports & a 3 years police investigation into the CTV bldg collapse, no one has been held accountable for the CTV collapse & the dead.

See Christchurch youth trust keen to build adventure school on abandoned land (The Press / Stuff Co).


See Plunder - How the bill for the Canterbury earthquakes was passed on (The Press / Stuff Co).

See GNS Science.

Monday, January 21, 2019

Zimbabwe Cordon, Corruption, Killing

21.01.19 text received:

From a friend of someone in the office (living in Zimbabwe):

[01/18, 5:08 PM] Dirk: Hi Everyone. I'm on the ground in Zimbabwe. I'm going to try and put this in chronological order to begin with.

1) Last Friday Zuva petroleum ordered and paid for millions of litres of fuel. Zuva is Ed Mnangagwa & crony owned.

2) Saturday last ED calls a SONA at night and announces that fuel will increase by around 250% at midnight.

3) Zuva makes a cool 40m USD over night.

4) ED hires a 2m Dreamliner jet and flies out of the country the next day to Russia with an entourage of about 30.

5) Sunday last the ZCTU calls for a three day stay away to begin at midnight.

6) ED says he hopes that companies won't put up their prices. Transport costs skyrocket overnight.

On Sunday night I decided not to open on Monday. I am a service provider and have trucks traversing Harare. The stay away starts slowly. Bulawayo begins to shut down first and serious riots break out. Harare is mixed: part open and part closed. As the day wears on messages begin to circulate warning cities: towns: all businesses: schools and all activities to close immediately and go home. Riots and skirmishes begin to break out everywhere. Roads are blocked with rocks & burning tyres. The social media/whatsapp warnings increase. Everything begins to shut down. At least two police stations and three toll gates are burnt down. Vehicles that are moving are stoned burnt or turned over. We are told to avoid service stations and government buildings etc. Tuesday morning just after 9am we suddenly lose the Internet and we resort to sms & phone calls. It's very, very hard to lose comms. No public transport moves at all nationwide and everything systematically shuts down. The stories will come out. From Monday night Chiwenga sends out the army/CID/ Zanu PF militia in plain clothes to break into houses: beat: shoot: torture and intimidate. Zimbabwe knew it was coming and the people fight back. The rumours fly thick and fast. The The ZRP are totally overwhelmed by angry Zimbabweans. To be continued.

[01/18, 5:09 PM] Dirk: Just got this message from Zim about the happenings on the ground so far...

The 48km peg to Bindura at Cheza, the bridge has been destroyed

Nyanga road from Rusape barricaded with big stones and wood logs before Londonstore, Christmas Pass Mutare closed with big stones motorists asked to go back

Domboshava 1 soldier killed by angry mob, a military 4 ton truck with armed soldiers fled Hatcliffe shopping centre as civilians notified carrying 3 machine guns

Beitbridge road closed at Ngundu Halt

Gweru protest hits up as civilians attacking security forces

Kadoma town is a no go area for security forces as angry mobs have declared civil war!!!

Army Helicopters in Bulawayo

Chirundu border closed Zambia side

Shootings at Plumtree border

3 police cars burnt at Marondera

Hundreds injured in Harare, teargas and live ammunition being used and fires burning everywhere

People have been set on fire

Shops are being looted

No electricity in Harare

Doctors can't help anyone as nobody can get to work because roads are barricaded everywhere and if they can get there, they are dealing with gunshot wounds, stabbings and shattered limbs - they still don't have any gloves or sanitary items to work with on these injured people and there are no painkiller drugs to be found as chemists want US dollars first as payment - there is NO money

Government has SHUT DOWN ALL SOCIAL MEDIA and now all international text messages are blocked off so we are being held hostage in our own country - pleeeease someone help us!!

Friday, July 13, 2018

Bat Roost Trees, Pleasant Point Domain

Sat 14.07.18. I live on Afghan St, diagonally opp Pleasant Point domain, which includes sports fields, camping ground & a pleasant walk around part of the golf course beneath a mix of mature, exotic trees & native trees. The circular walk from my home takes about half an hour.

Last week when I did my circuit round the golf course, I saw 3 mature, exotic trees, including a redwood, along the path, which had anti-predator, metal sleeves hammered onto the boles & above each anti-predator sleeve, a round disk reading:

Bat Roost Tree. Protected under the Wildlife Act 1953.

As there were native trees & shrubs growing beneath the exotics, like pittosporums & cabbage trees, it was daft that only exotic trees were used as roosts. Bat roosts were wishful thinking, as there was no bat crap beneath any domain trees, including the so-called Bat Roost Trees. The only crap I saw below trees was bird crap signified by feathers fallen from nests.

Perhaps Council & DOC could be proactive & plant more natives like totara, matai & kahikatea as potential Bat Roost Trees.

Geraldine, another South Canterbury town, about 25 kms away, boasted on their tourist, toilet murals about being the home of the NZ long tailed bat, Chalinolobus tuberculatus.

Today, I did my circuit around Pleasant Point domain & looked out for the long tailed bats roosting in the Bat Roost Trees during mid afternoon, bat roost time. Not a single bat was seen!

In future, if I see any bats I'll keep you posted...

A July 2018, Environment Canterbury (ECAN) pamphlet read:

                 South Canterbury

The Long-Tailed Bat (pekapeka) is a shy
South Canterbury native, classified as
'endangered / nationally critical' by DOC
An estimated population of just 2,300 can
be found within a triangle from Geraldine to
Cave and down to Temuka, A project between
Environment Canterbury, DOC and forestry
company Port Blakely is removing possums,
rats, weasels and stoats from the area on
Port Blakely's land to help protect the bats.
These predators kill adult bats & pups,
so keeping their numbers down is key to
maintaining the bat population.

ECAN did not say Port Blakely was a USA logging company, nor acknowledge that humans are the biggest predator of all, nor say what native trees Port Blakely company was planting, if any. Never mind all the slash pollution by forestry when harvesting trees, like radiata pine or douglas fir, leaving blots on the landscape for years, enabling exotic pests like broom & gorse to invade. When forestry companies & farmers burn slash on temperature inversion, wintry days, fires cause smoke pollution for miles around on Canterbury plains. Big companies love the conservation charade. I worked for DeBeers in SA in the 1980s & they did similar conservation, propaganda BS, exploiting the land.

ECAN did not acknowledge that most exotic, forestry logs were exported, causing local firewood costs to rocket. I live beside SH8 and log trucks frequently pass, transporting logs to Timaru harbour for export. A wander around Timaru harbour enables anyone with eyes to see acres of export logs, piled high. Pity bats & ECAN bullshit!

Copyright Mark JS Esslemont.

See Long Tailed Bat (DOC).

See Port Blakely logging