News

Immunity? Easy Peasy…. Lemon Squeezie | A Million Gods

A recommended read from my Dr:

Kylie over at the Token Skeptic is poking fun at the Anti-Vax. Her literature is cool but I know something that is lacking in skeptic land.

One of the major problems with the vaccination movement is that most people cannot understand how vaccines are meant to work. Many anti-vaccine advocates simply think that injecting someone with a disease is a good way to make someone sick rather than make someone immune to a disease

more via >> Immunity? Easy Peasy…. Lemon Squeezie | A Million Gods.

Winter Games NZ will work with IMG Media

For the first time…

The 2013 Winter Games NZ are set to achieve an unprecedented level of international television and internet coverage as a result of a ground breaking marketing partnership signed this week. For the first time, Winter Games NZ will work with IMG Media, part of IMG Worldwide, the world’s leading sports, fashion and media company, to secure coverage across both the traditional broadcast and digital platforms.

more via >> Lake Wanaka.

Whole Nevis Valley now ‘outstanding’ | Otago Daily Times Online News : Otago, South Island, New Zealand

The entire Nevis Valley will be classified an outstanding natural landscape in the Central Otago district plan, under an agreement reached by parties debating the landscape’s value before the Environment Court.

The move, likely to tighten restrictions on any development in the valley, was welcomed yesterday by the Central Otago Environmental Society, which said the decision would close a “loophole” in the district plan.

Judge Jon Jackson and […]

more via >> Whole Nevis Valley now ‘outstanding’ | Otago Daily Times Online News : Otago, South Island, New Zealand & International News.

Bracken and snow grass fire on Roys Peak Wanaka

While out walking tonight, I saw the start of a fire – a farmer’s burn-off going a bit wrong. I took awhile to hoof it home to get closer with my truck, but this had advantages light wise. Tripod and wet feet crossing Waterfall Creek both helped… my¬†friend’s Alix and James doing a great job flying monsoon buckets into the smoke and dusk…

PS: The story emerges: so far it seems a case not typical of the usual burn-off of bracken fern by a high country farmer, and more an accidental startup at the hands of a small block holder wishing to get rid of some gorse. People new to the area, and not aware perhaps that even ‘tho we’ve had a heap of rain lately, fern really burns well and helps no end to get a larger event established.

It was easy to get in position for these shots, because I’ve seen more than one fire on this face over the years – they spread and race up because of wind and always seem to burn diagonally across Roys Peak, so when this happens then no houses or people are usually in immediate danger [noting you can’t assume anything with a fire and precautions must be taken, and apparently were], but the vegetation uphill comprised of a few natives sadly gets a hammering.

The other regular site nearby of similar events is Ruby Island to the right of where I was with my camera. A small island now hosting many plantings of native trees and plants. The last fire on it travelled so quickly comparatively few of the new planting were damaged. It both “raced” through older tree tops and through long grass at an astonishing speed. I suspect the spike of heat was so short lived other plants did not ignite. I was on the island helping, but all of us had no option but to fight only 2m inwards from the water – we retreated often to keep our clothing wet [classic best practise is to wear wool despite the summer heat, and not have bare skin exposed].

Cheers

Donald

The Nevis – just like the Clutha, another wild river at risk

In my last two posts I’ve written about the threat of four new dams, and published landscape photos of the Clutha River. While I gather steam on this one I’d like to draw your attention to yet another proposed travesty of our wild rivers and places. The nearby Nevis Valley – one of my favourite haunts.

Looking across to the backside of the Remarkables Mountains from the Duffers Saddle – the spectacular mountain range that Queenstown sits underneath of…
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The first use of the Nevis Valley was as a trail route for the Maori. When the gold rush arrived in the 1860s, two small settlements appeared in the lower Nevis. Now only the family at Ben Nevis Station occupies the valley.

Due to the remoteness of the valley, miners’ workings have been left largely untouched and now provide an excellent representation of an original goldfield. These remains include everything from the cemetery and settlement buildings through to a woolshed and the first ski hut…. more>>

Apart from outstanding and unique landscapes, remoteness verging on wilderness, and historic examples of the gold era, the river itself is cherished by trout fisherman…
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The river valley is subject of New Zealand’s Tenure Review process and in this instance it seems to be flawed… more>>

It becomes even more remote in winter…
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Gold dredges left modest pools of water behind…
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And the landscape was compromised years ago – back when it was thought OK to plunder the resources leaving a mess behind…
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In our quest for energy we’re not alone. It’ll become the currency of this world we live in, but it seems pathetic to flood our heritage and landscapes for what in the case of the Nevis is a very small generating capacity. Instead we have to embrace technology and think in new ways e.g. Auckland has to be the place in New Zealand that has one of the highest energy needs so it seems it is time to harness the energy in the tidal differences between east and west coasts on-site, so power is not lost through transmission line loss.

The old miners in the Nevis knew about wind energy [vexing as it is these days of huge examples also cluttering up unique landscapes] – these are 40 gal. drums cut in half and arranged on a shaft to capture the wind. This example still turns squeakily…
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The local newspaper the Otago Daily Times has published two articles if you wish to read further. Article 1, Article 2

Those of us who have the foresight to see beyond the dead water of artificial lakes need to spread awareness!

Note: Phil Lloyd commented on posts relating to the Nevis Valley and gold mining, and has since been in touch via email. Here is his story:

“I spent two summer holidays in the 1970’s with Lex Maclean and his parents working a goldmine just after the gorge in the upper Nevis. His parents were quite elderly even then and had moved to Milton after the population in the Nevis had dwindled away but they still came back to work the mine each summer.

I met up with Lex in Clyde last winter and he said they have no photos of those days, despite having many travellers call in and take photos.

I undertook to try to track down some of those photos but have had no luck so far.”

If you can help Phil please contact him:

+64 9 573 0421 or Phil.Lloyd@visy.co.nz