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I think the great Google Classroom experiment is over. It started well and it was fun when we didn’t have to scroll down to infinity to find what we wanted. Yes, it drove me crazy too, so I have listened and now that we are at the business end of the year I will only post on here. Your inbox will be free from bombing and we can all agree that we will not speak of this again!

Follow this blog if you want to keep up with my posts. Don’t if you don’t. It’s a free world man.

Feminism and Paul Henry


We are beginning our column writing task next week and I am going to start off by looking at the writing of Caitlin Moran who wrote ‘How to be a woman’. Follow this link to her views on being a feminist. One of the things we will discuss next week is using topical examples and issues for inspiration. Paul Henry has provided us with one today.

Henry caused controversy on his tv/radio show by expressing his view that Hillary Clinton shouldn’t be campaigning on ‘the first woman president’ card. The NZ Herald reported that Henry said: “Why, if feminism has come so far, does she feel the need to highlight the fact that she’s a woman? Shouldn’t she be selling herself on the fact that she’s the best person, the right person, for the job, no matter what her sex?” Henry went on to say that other high profile females had “fallen into the same trap” – including Helen Clark’s bid to become the Secretary General of the United Nations. Henry continued with, “Don’t these women realise feminism has come further than they have?”

The Human Rights Commission countered Paul Henry’s view by declaring his attitude towards feminism as “wrong”. The Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner Jackie Blue took aim at Henry’s comments and wrote this letter:

Dear Paul,

You are wrong. Feminism hasn’t come further than Hillary Clinton and Helen Clark, feminism will only ever go as far as they and other women go.

On your show today you argued that feminism has come further than Clinton and Clark, two women who are campaigning respectively for roles as the United States President and Secretary General of the United Nations. Clinton has voiced her ambition to become the first woman US President and you saw this as an outdated thing to say. It isn’t.

Feminism is a belief that gender should not limit anyone’s chances at life and quite frankly people are deluded if they believe women currently get the same opportunities as men to make it in business, politics and the like.

If we have come as far as you say we have why has female representation in our Parliament been stuck at around 30% since the first MMP election in 1996? Why did it even go backwards at the 2014 election? Why is the percentage of female directors on the NZX listed companies a paltry 14%? Why is it that there is a persistent mean pay gender gap in the labour market of around 14 %?

Only yesterday lawyer and international public servant Vicky Robertson was announced as the Ministry for the Environment’s new chief executive, however the headline just described her as a “Former Hockey Player”. I can’t help but wonder if this headline would have been the same if she were a man.

There is a lot of work to be done.

Yours faithfully,

Dr Jackie Blue

EEO Commissioner

Stuck inside with only one person to talk to


Josh had his story, ‘Stuck inside with only one person to talk to’ published in the ODT today. Here’s a sample:

I often can’t be bothered getting up in the mornings – I never have anything to do.

Why should I bother doing anything any more? I enjoy nothing.

I just lie on my couch and ponder my existence. I never feel happy.

My curtains are hardly open.

I live in darkness because I can’t cope with the light any more.

It reminds me too much of what the old time used to be like.

I just want to be alone.

Read the whole story here.

Debating Dunstan


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This week our senior team had a debate against the senior Dunstan High School team. The debate was an evening one and it was at the Centennial Court in Alexandra. The Rotary Club provided a lovely meal and a great audience.

Our senior team was depleted because of the Waimate Exchange. We had one senior debater and two Year 10 speakers. It was a fabulous and hard fought debate and we were pleased to come out as the winners. Well done boys!

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Backstage @Cromwell College Production


Cromwell College’s production this year was ‘Alice in Wonderland’ and students from Year 7 to Year 13 put on a brilliant and very well received show. The students performed to capacity crowds and they really enjoyed themselves. Lots of fun was to be found backstage and it was a fantastic experience helping with the make-up. I was able to take a few photos of what went on behind the stage doors and I am sharing them here:

Before the show


A few shots of our wonderful griffin – he was a real crowd favourite!


The main cast had to spend a lot of time in hair and make-up but it was worth it.

show3The French chef, the caterpillar and Alice in curlers.


The lovely duckies!


The cutest little crocodile you ever did see!

show 6

The delightful dancers (and friend).


The White Rabbit!

The End of Part One.

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Russell McVeagh Regional Debating Championship

collage uni

This weekend we sent our debating team to the Otago/Southland Russell McVeagh Regional Debating Championship in Dunedin. The regionals were held at the University of Otago. It was a really strong competition with a number of very good teams.

The moots were interesting and often challenging – I have listed them below:

Round 1: THS government employees such as teachers, the police, and doctors, having the right to strike.

Round 2: THBT graduates from New Zealand universities should be required to work in New Zealand for a number of years after graduating

Round 3: THBT environmentalist organisations are justified in breaking the law.

Round 4: THW, as a school student, delete its social network accounts

Round 5: THBT compulsory religious education should be taught in all state schools

Semi-finals: THW require that women comprise at least 45% of the seats in Parliament.

Final: THW grant amnesty to oppressive dictators in return for them stepping down.

Too Far From Heaven

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Simultaneously set in 1895 and 1918, a cry ‘Too Far From Heaven’ presents us with the final day of two New Zealanders sentenced to suffer the death penalty. If you would like to see this excellent piece of theatre it will be performed on Wednesday 5 March at 8pm in the Lowburn hall. It is only $5 for students to attend and it is presented by Cromwell Community Arts with Arts on Tour.

Minnie Dean, known as the Winton Baby Farmer, was the only woman in NZ to receive the death penalty. She was hanged for infanticide. Victor Spencer, a volunteer from Invercargill, was shot by firing squad for desertion during the First World War. According to his Wikipedia entry, Spencer was the last soldier to be executed during World War I and was posthumously pardoned some 80 years after his death.

‘Too Far From Heaven’ was co-written by two of the three performers (Lizzie Dawson and Jade Gillies) together with director Angela Newell, this is an incredibly moving piece of theatre. Try and catch it if you can.