Tuesday, June 09, 2009
  The world's most peaceful country!
Jim posted a link to an article (so it must be true, because Jim W is even more truthy than Wikipedia) about A study of the world’s most peaceful countries wel, actually Jim headlined it The World’s Most Dangerous Countries: Israel is in 4th Placewhat an opportunity lost :(

The real truth is that "Out of 144 countries, New Zealand is rated as the world's most peaceful land. It is followed by Denmark and Norway." at least according to the Radio Netherlands Worldwide report. So people, you can not only study with the lowest fees and lowest cost of living in the developed world, enjoy skiing, golfing, surfing and other hobbies at prices ordinary mortals can afford. Not only study at universities that regularly get rated in the top 50 or 100 worldwide, but also live while you study in the world's most peaceful country, while enjoying scenery that inspired the movie version of Lord of the Rings. Whatever are you waiting for?

Just to get you started here is a random picture from our holiday snapshots:

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Thursday, February 05, 2009
  Kiwi Preaching
Paul (Windsor the retiring - in the sense of leaving a job soon) principal of Carey is starting his new job with a Forum to encourage thought about "Kiw-made" preaching. Here are the details, sorry it is not cut-and-pasteable text, but the graphic is what they sent (just click to see it bigger).

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Wednesday, December 17, 2008
  Naming the Roses
Top Countries
The World Names Profiler is a fun toy. First I found that New Zealand is now the most popular place in the world to be called Bulkeley, with the UK and USA offering very poor competition to get the silver and bronze spots. The map below also shows a creditable score for India, which given that the scores are in frequency per million may mean that there are more Bulkeleys in India than any other country!

It was also interesting to discover that, although in NZ as a whole names like Smith, Wilson, Brown, Williams, Taylor, Jones... filled the top ten, with only the possibly amgiguous Lee at number ten suggesting the non-Anglo-Saxon component of contemporary NZ, looking at Auckland City gives a very different picture with only half the top ten being Anglo names, and Patel, Lee and Wang all in the top five.

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Thursday, October 09, 2008
  Superb photos of a beautiful place
Mike Crudge has walked the Abel Tasman track, one of NZ's most stunning natural beauties, every year since he was a mere child. Every year he takes friends along. Every year I wish I'd organised for us to go with him. Mike is also a very good photographer, and he has put some of the best of his Abel Tasman photos into a book, The Abel Tasman Coastal Track: The best bits of New Zealand the book has reproduced the photos superbly and it would make a nice present for anyone who has been there, or who might enjoy beautiful coastal scenery, NZ bush or unspoilt places.

I wish his website looked less "commercial" and I wish I could provide one of his photos here to show you how good they are. But to compensate for his uptight attitude to intellectual property Mike's book is thoroughly green, locally printed on paper made from sustainable forests ;)

Mike, if you give me permission, and I can choose a suitable photo, I'll do another post advertising the book in a week or two (even closer to Christmas).

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Monday, July 07, 2008
  Society for Biblical Literature International: Powhiri
SBL International has begun. The first papers are not due for another half hour, but the conference began yesterday with a powhiri (Māori welcome ceremony) and a reception. For the SBL International in Auckland, the challenge was "Kamate Kamate" somewhat oddly since this haka was judged too bloodthirsty for international rugby matches (ka mate means death!) - apparently International Rugby is wimpy compared to International Biblical Scholars ;-)

It was great to begin this first ever SBL in New Zealand in a culturally appropriate way with the visitors being welcomed to the University Marae, to the University and to the country. As so often though my delight in powwhiri was tinged with saddness, of only Māori custom could unbend enough to produce a geniuinely bicultural powhiri one for example in which the speeches were tailored to the presence of 90% of the participants who are not fluent in Te Reo (the Māori language) so shorter and accompanied by brief summary statements in English (like subtitles) so that the 90% could understand and appreciate the ceremony. Such a powhiri if regularly adopted for bicultural occasions, would I suspect take NZ by storm and become the only appropriate way to formally welcome visitors. Instead too often what we have is a mere cultural show - which ends up turning Māori into museum exhibits, rather than partners in a bicultural society.

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Thursday, November 08, 2007
  Elementary, my dear Watson!
cash advanceWell, they are all doing it, first (I think) in "our" circles AKMA, then JPS both of whom run genius level blogs! Susanne gave us a brief round up, though the best anyone except John (who, I am reliably informed, cheats by pasting lots of Hebrew into every post) could achieve on her tests was Postgraduate Level. So I gave in to the temptation (I blame it on the marking it makes me go all light-headed) and tested Sansblogue. You can see the result on the right...

So, for those whose heads are aching from reading all those Genius-level posts, just come over here for a rest!

In the meantime, I have four exegeses and about thirty blog assignments to mark, so you'll be on a diet of pictures for another few days yet, which will probably lower the reading age required even further ;-) but should encourage some of you to book for SBL International in this beautiful land next July!

Today's "wish I was there" photo is of Kaikoura (where we went whale watching and saw loads, but were very sick, they said the sea was "very lumpy", they were right :(

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Wednesday, November 07, 2007
  No posts today, the blogger's gone-a-marking :(

No post today either :( I'm still marking, and tomorrow there are meetings instead! Oh, joy and bliss...

So, for anyone who fails to follow my audio blog, and so will miss out on my thoughts on "Ezra and the foreign wives" (one I prepared earlier as the cookery shows say) here is a consolation, still at Okarito, this time the sea:

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Monday, November 05, 2007
  Marking :(
I'm busy marking, but the end is (if not in sight, or nigh, at least) not too far off and after the marking the summer holidays. As a reward for two assignments marked, here is a view from last years January holiday.

Okarito Lagoon, just before our nature tour on the flat bottomed boat!


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