From the Back of the Class | Issue 26

Posted 3:48pm Sunday 4th October 2015

On 20 May 1861, Gabriel Read, a lonesome prospector, tried his luck in a gully near modern Lawrence. Heaving away the gravel, he exposed the creek bed and saw, in his words (poetic for an itinerant gold miner), “gold shining like the stars of Orion on a dark, frosty night”. This Read more...

From the Back of the Class | Issue 25

Posted 2:17pm Sunday 27th September 2015

A head of one of the world’s many religions died in the last fortnight with little international fanfare. Max Gesner Beauvoir was the spiritual leader of Haiti’s voodoo faith, a biochemist as well as a voodooist. Beauvoir became the Supreme Servitur in 2008.  Voodoo originated in Read more...

From the Back of the Class | Issue 24

Posted 2:43pm Sunday 20th September 2015

Senator Hiram Johnson is supposed to have opined that the first casualty of war is truth. Hillary Clinton has said that “women have always been the primary victims of war”. I myself have stood in the war cemeteries of northern France and seen the white stakes above the graves of the Read more...

From the Back of the Class | Issue 23

Posted 2:24pm Sunday 13th September 2015

I was going to write something different this week but, because I am a glutton for punishment, I ventured into the comments on a piece about the Tino Rangatiratanga flag — and what did I find? Only the same fucking idiots spouting the same fucking idiocy about Moriori that was Read more...

From the Back of the Class | Issue 22

Posted 3:16pm Sunday 6th September 2015

This year marks the 800th anniversary of the signing of Magna Carta at Runnymede on the banks of the Thames in 1215 AD. If somehow this momentous occasion has slipped your mind, here’s a recap.  The Magna Carta was essentially a peace treaty between the barons and “Bad” Read more...

From the Back of the Class | Issue 21

Posted 2:29pm Sunday 30th August 2015

Previously in this column there has been cause to celebrate feminists like Emmeline Pankhurst and the suffragettes for their fearless advocacy for the rights of women. But now, I must castigate some of them for their behaviour during the Great War. In August 1914, at the outset of World War One, Read more...

From the Back of the Class | Issue 20

Posted 2:49pm Sunday 16th August 2015

If you have been paying even cursory attention to your Facebook newsfeed recently, you’ll have  noticed that there’s a thing about a flag coming up and that people have opinions about it. Regardless of the merits (or otherwise) of a $25 million referendum or the value some may Read more...

From the Back of the Class | Issue 19

Posted 2:21pm Sunday 9th August 2015

If, like me, you are an avid reader of the Letters to the Editor page of the ODT, not only will you be aware of middle New Zealand’s almost manic opposition to the concept of a cycle lane but also of another current affair that has the denizens of our fine province all riled up. A few weeks Read more...

From the Back of the Class | Issue 18

Posted 3:36pm Sunday 2nd August 2015

Having been partly raised in Britain, I might say that we love, and are even proud of, a good defeat. The evacuation from Dunkirk evokes notions of good old British pluck in the face of adversity, the Battle of Rorke’s Drift preceded by the Zulu massacre of 1700 British soldiers got made into Read more...

From the Back of the Class | Issue 17

Posted 3:12pm Sunday 26th July 2015

New Zealander Nancy Wake was the Allies’ most decorated servicewoman of World War Two, “The Electric Bugaloo” and the Gestapo’s most wanted person with a five-million-franc price on her head. She was code-named “The White Mouse” because of her ability to elude Read more...

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