The New Zealand Food Innovation Network (NZFIN) is an accessible, national network of science and technology resources created to support the growth and development of New Zealand food & beverage business of all sizes. At Socius we have been working with them to create concise and meaningful case studies for publication on their website. Here are a couple of examples.
The FoodBowl is always happy to assist local companies, but the best feeling of all is when the development done at The FoodBowl leads to a massive economic win for a region and for New Zealand. “The Apple Press” is a new Hawke’s Bay beverage brand that produces the world’s best apple juice and does it sustainably utilising the leftover “ugly fruit” that does not make export grade.
The Apple Press (previously operating under the company name Apollo Foods) has built a state-of-the-art beverage processing facility in Hawke’s Bay to enable development of apple based beverages for NZ & export markets. Before the plant was commissioned, they needed to show they had a great product, one worth investing in and so came to The FoodBowl in 2014 to refine and test their juice processes and formulations. They needed to justify the business case for the new facility and be ready to go as soon as the plant was ready.
Sally Gallagher, Head of Innovation & Strategy at The Apple Press, says “Our FoodBowl experience was very positive, the people there were so helpful; all expectations were met. Without The FoodBowl, we wouldn’t be here today with this product. How else could we have tested it?”
The Apple Press uses fruit not “pretty enough” for export. Sally says the concept was “let’s make our juice look and taste like an apple” (with no preservatives or additives).
Job creation is already considerable – three employees have become 40 in only 18 months. Sales turnover, although domestic only, has grown rapidly to >$500K since launch in April 2018. Export interest is high from a range of markets, and all going well there may even be a container on the water before Christmas.
A chilled juice shelf life is generally 40-60 days, but The Apple Press process can increase this substantially. Thanks to the perfecting of an aseptic filling technique, there is no contamination from pathogens. It means a shelf life of 9 months, chilled for the Apple Press juice range.
Food development is never without challenges: some variants were too acidic, others had colours that weren’t consumer-friendly enough. But there was shining success with Braeburn, Royal Gala and JazzTM – apples in a bottle. A run of 500 bottles at The FoodBowl has become 10,000 bottles an hour in Hawke’s Bay. (The plant capacity is circa. 50 million bottles per year). Finding the right investors who shared the same vision was also a challenge that took nearly a year to secure.
Operational investment has been big, with the capital investment circa. $20 million, supported by Callaghan Innovation from the project outset. New Zealand’s unwanted (but delicious) apples have become sought-after beverage SKUs in Foodstuffs and Progressive supermarkets.
This venture is poised to become a major export winner for New Zealand, and it all began at The FoodBowl.
Sometimes great discoveries are just out of reach without quite the right technology to realise their potential. That’s why Supreme Health’s CEO Kerry Paul turned to The FoodBowl, with its state-of-the-art freeze-drying facilities. Kerry founded Supreme Health in 2017. Already its products can be found throughout New Zealand and he is exporting into Asia. What he’s working on in The FoodBowl could be the Next Big Thing.
We know what antioxidants do; they take on the free radicals in our bodies that cause us health problems: accelerated ageing and a weakened immune system. It is a literal life crisis, albeit an invisible one, and to save us we need mighty molecules, the antioxidants. There is none mightier than the one at the front of the alphabet – Astaxanthin.
Astaxanthin can take on (absorb) 19 different free radicals at the same time, maintaining its own stability by redistributing its own electrons; it’s fat and water soluble (so it’s active throughout the body). It can cross the blood/brain and blood-retinal barriers. It can penetrate the cell membrane, protecting a cell’s interior structures.
Best of all, astaxanthin is ours. Kerry’s team harvest it from green algae in some of the purest water on earth – the South Island’s high-country lakes, rivers and streams. Astaxanthin has superpowers where other antioxidants merely have abilities. It is 6000 times stronger than Vitamin C, 3000 times stronger than Resveratol, more than 500 times more effective than Vitamin E or the catechins in green tea.
But, you have to extract the astaxanthin from the algae, and it must be rigorously tested. Supreme Health harvests the algae strain Haematococcus pluvialis and encourages it to produce red Astaxanthin (AstaNZ™) in a controlled environment.
Supreme Health has used The FoodBowl before with other product development. Kerry Paul says “The FoodBowl provides the ideal stepping stone to get you started at the right level. With anything larger in terms of a development facility, you run the risk of losing your IP and producing too much product in the early stages before your market has been tested. The great thing about The FoodBowl is that production and development aren’t at an industrial scale.”
With astaxanthin there are so many possible products to develop, and each one can be tried and tailor-made. “The FoodBowl people are helpful as well as knowledgeable, says Kerry. “It’s a great facility.”
The development of astaxanthin is six months in, and when the product goes to market in its final forms, it has the potential to become a significant export earner for New Zealand.
Pleasure to help out in the making of this video for the 2019 World Economic Forum.
Our Prime Minister was most obliging and a pleasure to deal with.
Check it out!
A prince, a president and a supermodel unite to call for bolder steps towards inclusion. Inclusive Voices brings together world leaders, celebrities and changemakers to share alternative opinions on what could and should be done to secure inclusion and equality for all by 2030. Hear their full stories.
Source: KPMG YouTube
Former television presenter Mary Lambie did it. Former rugby player Eric Rush still does. But how do you know if owning a franchise will work for you?
There are hundreds of options available. Becoming a business owner can be as simple as shelling out the amount on the price tag. Some franchise systems require you to work in the business first, or to meet certain criteria.
A scan of listings reveals a wide range of business types and prices. There is a Fastways courier business for sale for $7500, an Asian food takeaway for $225,000, a “global sandwich franchise” that looks suspiciously like a Subway for $340,000 and a Facebook marketing franchise for $3500.
But how can you tell if you are investing in a booming business, or just buying yourself a poorly paid job?
Westpac national franchise manager Daniel Cloete said, while you were more likely to be successful owning Albany Pak’n Save than a cleaning business for sale for a couple of thousand dollars, there were no guarantees.
He said, with any system, 5 per cent to 30 per cent of franchisees operated at the bottom end of the “success curve”. That could be because they were in the wrong location, the franchise model was not a good fit, or the owners struck problems.
Those were the ones that were often on the market as resales, he said. “You could have good ones in a franchise making millions and others barely breaking even.”
He said there were some franchise models on which the bank would not have lost money in the last 30 years and they tended to have some key things in common.
“There are 600-plus franchise systems in New Zealand. We regularly fund 150 of those and there are opportunities in 30 or so, in dollar terms.”
Philip Morrison, of Franchise Accountants, said how much people could expect to make from a franchise was “the million-dollar question”. “Although the answer is unlikely to be ‘a million dollars’. The real question is ‘how much money can I take out of the business without damaging it?’ A one-man-and-a-van franchise is likely to produce a different result from a large restaurant employing 50 staff.”
While financial success is likelier in a big brand, it comes at a price. McDonald’s requires individuals to have at least $1.2 million in “unencumbered funds”. It also has a franchise fee of $75,000 – plus the cost of the equipment in the business, if it’s new, or the value of an existing business.
Lambie owned Subway outlets and Rush is in the supermarket trade.
Simon Lord, of Franchise.co.nz, said for any business to succeed, it had to provide a product or service that people wanted, at a price they would pay and which delivered a profit to the owner after all the costs were paid.
“New Zealand has a small population and if a product only appeals to a niche market then it may not work here – even if it is successful overseas. But be aware that new niches are developing all the time: concepts such as Mexicali Fresh or Noodle Canteen would probably not have worked 15 years ago but changing demographics and new eating habits have made them viable now.”
Cloete said the best franchises had a franchisor (the business that owns the overall brand and franchise model) that was focused on the ongoing development of the brand, concept and business model. It needed to continue to invest in its systems to remain competitive.
“You can have ones that have been quite successful but over time become less competitive.”
Those that are focused on selling franchises to new franchisees, rather than ensuring the success of their existing ones, tend to strike trouble first.
Lord said most franchises had some form of ongoing support but the best ones “go beyond basic in-store consultations”.
“Good franchises have always had a policy of re-investing in their businesses through product research, systems upgrades, adoption of new technology and other forms of support and marketing,” he said.
“Similarly, they insist upon franchisees upgrading their own premises or systems on a regular basis. If they do this well, it pays off – franchises that reinvested during the economic downturn, for example, now find themselves in a very strong position with increased market share and improved relationships with both customers and franchisees.”
The franchisor will probably give you lots of sales projections based on its business model and experience in other locations. This is not a guarantee of how the business will perform. If it’s an existing franchise, you can ask for a copy of the financial statements from the current owner.
If it is a new one, talk to other franchisees in the system about their experience, and find other small businesses in a similar position to yours. You need to get an accurate idea of costs.
Cloete said it was important not to get caught out on things such as rent. “If the system average is rent of 8 per cent to 12 per cent [of revenue] an you buy something at 23 per cent, that difference comes straight off your bottom line and makes it more difficult to profit.”
Franchisors will take a fee on an ongoing basis – it is common for a percentage of sales to be taken each year as a franchise fee, and to pay a marketing levy.”
“Ongoing fees, sometimes called royalties, management fees or licence fees, are separate to and additional to the upfront franchise fee you paid at the beginning. As the name suggests, they are payable on a regular basis – often weekly or monthly – throughout the term of the franchise agreement,” Morrison said.
“There is no ‘standard’ rate; fees vary according to the services which they pay for. Potential franchisees should avoid choosing a franchise based on lowest fees alone, as an under-funded franchisor may struggle to deliver on support and system improvements.”
Check what happens if your sales slump. In a downturn, would a flat fee remain constant, or could you negotiate it?
Stuff is the media partner for Small Business Month, supported by CAANZ.
Article source: https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/
Source: ADAM DUDDING – Last updated 06:59, September 21 2018 http://stuff.co.nz/national/politics
Clarke Gayford says Barack Obama has a “lovely soft nose”, Malcolm Turnbull is “really quite personable” – and he’s not yet decided if he’ll hang out with Melania Trump when he’s in New York next week.
Speaking at an on-stage Q&A in Auckland on Thursday night, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s partner also said since his family had become the focus of intense media scrutiny, he’d deleted all the news apps from his smartphone, “because you get so frustrated by some of the stuff that comes out”.
Gayford was in conversation with former TV presenter Mary Lambie, in front of around 100 attendees at an event organised by the Public Relations Institute, PRINZ. Despite a rumour that Gayford was paid $20,000 for the appearance, he said he’d in fact received nothing more than a jar of chutney for his troubles: Lambie and Gayford are neighbours in Point Chevalier, Auckland.
This was a cosy chat rather than a hard-ball interrogation, and included Gayford’s narration of slideshow snaps of some of the famous folk he’s met since Ardern became PM last October – the Queen, musicians Ed Sheeran and Paul McCartney and Obama to name a few.
But alongside the smooth anecdotes about being a stay-at-home dad to three-month-old daughter Neve, and self-deprecating jokes about competing with cabinet papers for Ardern’s attention, Gayford also offered a stern critique of the current media environment. He said though journalists do their best, the analytics behind modern digital media mean outrageous opinions earn more clicks than facts do, and correcting errors by journalists can be “a game of whack-a-mole”.
Gayford said he was glad to have already been a TV presenter and radio host, as otherwise the sudden attention “would have been bloody overwhelming – I feel sorry for some people who’ve been thrust into that, like a rabbit in the headlight”.
Mostly, though, he seemed rather chuffed to have stumbled into a strange and exciting new world via Ardern’s extraordinarily swift elevation from opposition MP to party leader to prime minister.
Such as getting to meet former US President Barack Obama.
“He was really lovely. He was asking questions about Māori culture and about New Zealand. He was an inquisitive, curious human being.
“We had to hongi him, and I was one of the first ones up and I was pretty nervous – and he’d only done one before either. Lovely soft nose!”
Gayford said though he’d met high-profile people through his work in music television, interviewees often have their guard up. But when meeting world leaders and the like in private, that filter disappears a lot, “and you get a much better judge of character”.
He sounds almost a little surprised by his impression of former Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull and his wife Lucy, whom they met soon after Ardern became PM.
“He was actually really quite personable in a one-on-one setting, and Lucy was great as well. We got on really well with them […] It was interesting the way he talked, versus how some of the policy and politics line up.”
(Gayford was being vague, but the issues on which the current governments of Australia and New Zealand really don’t see eye-to-eye include the rights of Kiwi expats in New Zealand, and the status of refugees on Nauru and Manus Island.)
On Saturday, Ardern, Gayford and Neve will fly to New York for the United Nations General Assembly. There, Ardern has 40-odd scheduled events in seven days, plus three major media appearances: the Late Show with Stephen Colbert, the Today Show, and a longer interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour.
Gayford said he reckons Kiwis still don’t quite realise the phenomenal scale of the international interest in Ardern. When they travelled to the UK for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting there were around 70 media requests for Ardern. For the New York trip, Gayford said, Ardern’s staff had lost count of the number, but it would have been in the hundreds.
In New York, Gayford will mostly focus on looking after Neve, but he told Lambie that only that morning he’d received a very special invitation all of his own.
“I was in the office and one of the guys said, ‘Oh Clarke – we’ve got a couple of invites for you.”
He reached for his phone.
“I’ll read it. It’s pretty funny. I sent it to a few friends and said, ‘You will not believe this invite I just got.”
He found the file on his phone.
“It has the United States crest on the top and it says, ‘Mrs Melania Trump requests the pleasure of your company for a reception on the occasion of the 73rd United Nations General Assembly’.
“She must be doing it for all the the spouses.”
“Tea and scones with Melania,” said Lambie.
“Yeah,” said Gayford. “Tea and scones with Melania. I don’t know quite where it is. I’ll see if we have time.”
How will you get there, asked Lambie. Jump in an Uber?
“We’ve actually got our own Secret Service detail assigned to us,” said Gayford, in a tone that suggested he found this both ludicrous and kind-of cool.
“So I’ll just ask them. Take me to Melania’s!”
CEOs, executives, managers, academics, professionals – do you need help with that upcoming TV or radio interview? Do you need a column written or a speech sparkled? Maybe your personal presentations are an area you want to polish? Do you want to become the go-to media person in your area of expertise?
Seasoned broadcaster and journalist Mary Lambie – from Socius Media – has proven solutions and high-level testimonials. Mary has had 25 year’ experience in broadcast media, hosting her own radio and TV shows and writing for magazines and newspapers.
Mary knows what it takes to be an impressive media performer and how you can be your absolute, confident best on stage or in internal presentations. She can coach you confidentially, to enhance the ways you look, and sound, and to deliver key messages expertly.
Mary writes and appears regularly in NZ media (television, radio, magazines), and for the past four years has been coaching executives from some of our biggest corporates. She knows what it takes to stand out in the media clutter, and to improve confidence and cut-through in the boardroom.
Phone or email for an initial, confidential talk about how Mary can help you.
Duncan Garner replies to Jane Wrightson… @janewrightson
Hi Jane, I agree it’s not ideal to interrupt, but sometimes you have little or no choice because in the middle of someone else saying something, the EP and Director scream in your earpiece to ‘interrupt’ and get to a location ‘now’, now you do it as gently as possible but it has to happen as something is happening or someone has arrived, it’s part of the rock and roll nature of a 5 hour seat of your pants broadcast.
I did it to Paddy and Lisa and Lisa did it to us. It’s a night where it can happen and does happen and should happen at times. I have no idea why you choose to single out my interruptions. Maybe I made more but that can happen to – it’s live.
I’ve run into a million experts over the years as no doubt you have on this business and I can’t believe how many people are waiting in the wings to do this easy job. And with so much retained political knowledge too. Indeed, last night I was told to interupt more than I did but I couldn’t find a way to do it without stuffing some good flow so I delayed a couple of crosses to keep it smooth. I’m sad that you could only post one comment about our coverage and it was negative.
I thought our team was on the whole, outstanding. My mentor and first boss Linda Clark is the most astonishing journalist and person anyone will meet. Sharp as ever, Linda taught me this game and I spent 7 years learning from her and working with her. I hold her in the highest regard – daylight exists between her and the rest. She taught me three things: work ethic, accuracy and high standards. It’s in my DNA I can’t forget her tutelage.
I was and still remain immensely grateful to her. I consider myself lucky to have had her as my boss, and consider her my friend and someone I can go to for counsel and advice. And I see there are comments here about how good it is to see women on the panel etc. Just for the record I regard Linda, Trish and Lisa as the sharpest minds around.
Whenever the make up of panels and election nights are discussed I always ask if not demand that those 3 are the first three people we choose. My email records prove that. For me it’s not about their gender, they’re just the best, most articulate and brightest with the most knowledge. I just wanted to have my say and I was so pleased 3 also won the crucial 25-54 ratings on the night.
People had a choice and they voted with their remotes. Not everything was perfect, but 5 hours live, Im proud of what we did and achieved and hope our team will focus on the positive things, they did so much right. I’m proud of them all. And grateful for their hard work in the studio, the control room and field. I’m sure you saw that too Jane but I just wanted to give you a fuller picture, because as I’ve learned in broadcasting and politics, not all is as it seems.
In fact it rarely is and usually the opposite. And it’s likely there are many other factors in the background that need an explanation or hidden from public view. To Mary Lambie thanks for your kind words. Decades of hard grafting, day-in, day-out political journalism and knowledge was around the table at 3 last night – that’s what I wanted in our show. And I’m pretty sure we got it. Thanks for watching Jane and appreciate the chance to respond. Kind regards Duncan Garner
If we were looking after Aaron this is what we would have advised… For the record Aaron Smith is not a client of ours.
If we were engaged to media manage him out of the mess he found himself last year the first thing we would have said to him is tell the full truth and nothing but the full truth right at the time the media come to know about the Christchurch Airport toilet liaison.
We would have said to Aaron it might be painful, unnerving, embarrassing and possibly feel unnecessary to reveal all the facts but when it comes to reputation management you have to play the long game.
We would have said to Aaron – if you don’t declare the full story there is a 99.9 percent chance you will eventually be found out and your reputation will be dragged through the mud once more.
Aaron didn’t reveal all the facts and this is why he is embroiled in scandal two.
We would have also said to Aaron that under no circumstances is he to leave any sort of digital footprint regarding the scandal. When you read the attached link you will learn he was texting ‘ the woman’ with suggestions on how to best cover up what actually went on.
That was completely stupid and it will be the thing that buries him.
Aaron – engaging competent, proven media managers in this sort of crisis situation would have been money very well spent.
Picture this. Please suspend your disbelief for 5 minutes and come on a trip into the future of Auckland with me. Imagine for a few minutes that we are right here at the Pullman hotel, but the year is no longer 2017 it is 2030. This is a story of our future, all of our futures, told through the lens of current trends and data. This is the story of where we are heading if we keep doing what we are doing now, until 2030. This is Auckland in 2030. This is the Tale of Two cities
Back in 2017….and the infamous Charles Dickens quote “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way.”
It makes me think what if we had chosen another path…Most of you came here today in driverless cars and on the rapid transport light rail that was announced as an election sweetener late in 2017. Most of our key workers, teachers, nurses, administrators, policemen and women shared the train with you but they came in from further out on the lines from Helensville, Pokeno, Whangarei
We will still live in a naturally beautiful city – with enviable natural resources of harbours, beaches and bush. We got that part right and learned to look after it.
The population of Auckland is now over 2 million or about 40% of the NZ population.
The city has its new Convention Centre, many new high grade hotels, a modern skyline featuring new residential apartments and office towers. (6) We go about our business as kiwis as best we can, but there is something niggling us, gnawing away at us, something is deeply not quite right because we believe in fair play, and looking out for each other. As communities, and people, something is just not right.
Still we have plenty of great things to distract us from that, As the holders of the Americas cup we have continued to develop a world class urban environment reshaped with people oriented streetscapes, laneways, public squares, and parks. Were even gearing up to defend the Rugby World Cup men’s and women’s again next year right here in Auckland.
Mobile technology means we can do anything, anywhere with tiny devices, many of you are wearing google glasses and livestreaming this event to your network via LinkedinLive from all parts of the country.
Medical advancements, robotics and Artificial intelligence have meant the loss of many jobs, but have also created many other new opportunities. I have a bionic eye.
However, the one issue which has changed little is housing. The industry has become more fragmented and there remains no overall leadership on the issue of housing
The game playing and finger pointing between the local and central government has continued to the detriment of the city.
Oops there it is. That’s the thing that is bugging us all. It’s housing. It is the fact that in 2017 we realised we had broken the social contract we had with our people. We said to each other that if we worked hard, educated and looked after our children, paid our taxes and joined in to kiwi life we could expect a safe dry secure affordable house to live in. A place to call home.
We believed that was important in 2017. We knew it was important because we knew then that housing isn’t just about shelter from the wind and rain. Safe secure affordable housing is irrefutably directly related to better health and education outcomes, better justice outcomes, better economic outcomes and better communities.
Unfortunately despite our knowledge of why housing is important, in 2017 we did not decide to make changes or a plan to address the Auckland Housing Crisis. So this is where we have got to.
Since 2017 we continued to deliver the housing supply at the same rates so we will have gone from a shortage of 35,000 houses in 2017 to over 130,000 short today. Ghettos unlike anything we have ever seen in New Zealand have become embarrassingly common.. We can no longer say we are looking after those of us who are most in need. We are not.
Two Hamiltons’ worth of housing development needed to be crammed into Auckland by 2030 – said the CEO of Auckland Transport – David Warburton in 2017. But we didn’t listen.
Core Logic estimates the average Auckland house price is now nearly $3m– an astonishing 19 times the average household income. This affordability ratio has taken Auckland off the chart by international standards.
Home Ownership has continued to drop and now less than half of Aucklanders own their own home. We are seeing widespread evidence of the decay of communities that is associated with declining ownership rates.
Homelessness has escalated and the need for social housing and other support services increased dramatically. There are now 500,000 households in Auckland who cannot afford even the median rent. This is up from 120,000 in 2017.
The impact on communities has been huge. Communities have been decimated and the gap between the haves and the have nots has increased. On one side – we see more gated communities and the need for security, while others struggle. Auckland is becoming more like cities overseas we never wanted to be. People who came here to escape failing violent cities, are now leaving.
We have a shortage of key workers in Auckland – our teachers, our nurses, our police. We are even starting to see in Auckland what San Francisco experienced in 2015 where critical key workers lived in mobile RV’s outside their place of work. Watch your step on the way out the Princes Street exit here at the Hotel, there are some homeless people living in that doorway today.
Back to the present
So we have a choice as a city.
Do we continue an incremental growth strategy or does it take a bold and innovative approach to achieving some big targets?
Does it consider an alternative “out-of-the-box” leadership approach?
Do we as Aucklanders choose to take bold, ambitious and innovative actions?
Innovation and The Challenge it presents
If we want to solve these challenging social sector issues, then we need expanded support in a fundamentally new way for organisations that create scalable, sustainable and systems-changing solutions and results.
Imagine for a moment the results that could be in achieved if we approached solving our housing crisis with a similar approach to that adopted by Team New Zealand in the latest America’s Cup win. They were about a clear vision, a fantastic and passionate team, leading edge technology and boat design as well as a culture of innovative and disruptive thinking. In this campaign, New Zealand maintained its reputation for innovation by replacing the grinders who traditionally adjusted sails and the boom using hand-operated winches with four ‘cyclors’ riding stationary bicycles. This fundamental change created a 30% improved outcome.
What’s the equivalent of “that” in the Auckland Housing and how could it be achieved?
Innovation is a way of thinking. It is not about doing an old thing in a new way, it is about creating a new way to do something new, or a new way to do something better.
It does not accept the status quo; it recognises there may be a better way and is open to making it a reality.
Challenges for People:
However, this also creates the greatest challenge for many people and that is many people are uncomfortable with ‘new’. We’re uncomfortable with new processes, new approaches. We uncomfortable with that with which we are not familiar – whether that is technology, social media, disciplined planning, time to communicate, measuring results, holding ourselves accountable or stepping up and showing bold leadership.
Challenges for organisations:
The existing players in any sector have resources, processes, partners, and business models designed to support the status quo. This makes it difficult and unappealing for them to challenge the prevailing way of doing things. Organizations are set up to support their existing business models.
Because implementing a simpler, less expensive, more accessible product or service could sabotage their current offerings, it’s almost impossible for them to disrupt themselves. This is the reason why many disruptive innovations come from outside the ranks of the established players.
Continuing the America’s Cup analogy, I understand that all the syndicates had looked at the new technology of ‘cyclors’ at some stage but no one else had adopted it. The reason was that the grinders are one of the highest paid members of an America’s Cup team – and in other syndicates they didn’t support this new innovation. Team NZ back in 2013 only had a team of 4, so it had a blank canvas with only one question – how can they win?
Auckland is at a cross-roads. However the future is not pre-ordained. We have an opportunity to choose it. This is the tale of two cities. You get to choose.
We all have the ability to take action today which will help shape the future. The key is in the commitment to the process.
The Reputation Reality 2017 survey interviewed 146 business leaders in New Zealand and Australia.
The furore over the case of convicted fraudster Joanne Harrison is a salient reminder of how integrity is seen as the No 1 thing driving corporate reputation, according to a new survey.
Ms Harrison was jailed after stealing $725,000 from her employer, the Ministry of Transport, to pay off her credit card bills and mortgage. The government has since been forced to apologise to the whistleblowers who were bundled out of the organisation after raising concerns about her behaviour.
The latest SenateSHJ survey on reputation and risk shows company leaders lack confidence in their ability to handle a crisis, despite facing more risk than ever before.
Some 96% say corporate reputation is one of their primary assets, up from 50% in 2006, and 60% of respondents say reputational risks have increased in the past three years.
The survey found 38% of respondents identified employee conduct as a major trigger for reputational risk, replacing health and safety which was the key concern last year.
Senate SHJ NZ general manager Raphael Hilbron says the Harrison case shows what an impact questions of integrity can have on an organisation.
“In our survey, some of the respondents pointed to the 7/11 crisis in Australia last year where there was essentially a corporate cover up of a wages crisis and people not being treated fairly and the heart of that issue was integrity,” he says.
The survey shows that, while 90% of organisations in New Zealand and Australia are actively managing their reputations, only a third of New Zealand companies and a quarter of Australian businesses say they feel confident of managing plans in a crisis situation.
Activism, the outrage economy (where people take to social media to rapidly express what are often knee-jerk responses to something they have seen), and social media in general are proving to be significant challenges for organisations to cope with, Mr Hilbron says.
This year crises like those faced by United Airlines and British Airways have spotlighted the speed at which reputational damage can occur. Tellingly, only 41% of respondents feel confident with managing social and digital media in the event of a crisis, compared to 70% with managing traditional media.
Fake news is another area of concern that has emerged in the past year, even though it is a label that is often used to discredit legitimate news, he says.
“People are wondering what sources they can trust and, interestingly enough, other surveys have pointed to the fact people trust their neighbours a lot now: ‘the people I see that are like me are who I trust more than traditional authority figures’ now.”
The survey shows that, while respondents take view reputation as a key asset and key risk, they’re not backing that up in terms of the investment and attention paid to it. Only 40% have invested in crisis simulation training, down 2% on last year. Customer surveys and social media monitoring are the key tools used to manage reputation.
“Staff engagement is absolutely critical; having a plan and testing that plan regularly to make sure that you’re across all the issues that could affect your organisation and have the ability to manage it,” Mr Hilbron says.
“I heard a quote the other day that every boxer knows that the plan goes straight out of the window the minute you get punched in the face and I think most organisations know that so you have to test the plan.”
Van Hooydonk and his team, they believe, have produced a new masterpiece – a BMW coupé that signals the return of its famed Series 8 cars. Read more.
Head of BMW Group Design Adrian van Hooydonk illustrates how the new BMW concept coupé is a mix of progression and heritage. Read more.
Global sponsors make the wheels of competitive cycling turn, and it’s hard to remember it wasn’t always like that. In Samoa now is a cycling race around the two main islands. It’s straightforward, it’s just a race, but somehow – without this being the intention – it’s more than a race. It has a harder edge than other cycling events to be sure, but its appeal is greater than that, too. It’s a quest as well as a test.
Wally Collins rode in the 2016 Ford Tour of Samoa on an old, borrowed bike. He’s a local rider, fast, but with no experience of riding in a bunch, no training in road racing. His shoes were cleated, but worn, and they kept slipping. This was an improvement on 2015 when he rode with sandshoes on those raised pedals. Steve Gurney, in admiration, went up to him at Tour’s end. While hugging Wally he lifted the front of the bike off the ground. The wheel fell off.
On the second day of the last Tour, on the island of Upolu, Wally hit a dog. Dogs are prominent; some chase the bikes, pugnaciously. Wally’s bike was too damaged to last 300 more kilometres. The riders caught the ferry the next morning to the island of Savai’i. Wally went too, hoping Dylan the tour mechanic could fix his machine. Not even Dylan could. Wally went back to Opolu. That day the competitors completed another stage, and got ready for the Day 3 time trial. Wally was borrowing another bike. He caught the next dawn ferry, and while everyone else (a long way up the road) was still asleep in their beach fales he rode the stage he had missed. He arrived just in time for that day’s 40-kilometre sprint into the hilly interior of the island. Wally would finish fifth on the Tour. As a salute, Auckland’s Philip Moore gave his own bike to Wally at the end of it. Wally told Phil, a few days later, that he had never owned anything like that. He found it hard to believe someone would do that for him. But Phil had done something else for other Samoans, seven years earlier. On the day of the September tsunami he had been relaxing at the resort of Lalomanu. Phil decided to fly back to New Zealand ahead of schedule. His flight out was at 1am; the tsunami destroyed the village later that morning. His departure probably saved the lives of his Samoan family who had planned to join him there; the waves that engulfed Lalomanu were 10 metres high. Back in Auckland, Phil immediately raised $15,000. He and other Les Mills trainers hopped on bikes and had their kilometres sponsored. The money went a long way towards helping rebuild the village. Phil rode back there on the first day of the 2016 Tour. He found a community reborn.
There’s a lot that people do for one another on this unusual tour. It is not without its dangers, so each rider stays as others are counted in at the end of a stage. They stop to help after crashes; there is a bond you don’t find in normal A-grade cycling events. But A-graders wouldn’t take their $10,000 bikes to Samoa for this ride, and they might find the conditions a bit challenging. They might not like being woken by roosters at 3am, for instance. Some Samoan roosters helpfully remind you of the time regularly through the small hours.
Malo lava. Welcome to the way top cycling races used to be when they started, maybe. Here are fit weekend athletes with regular jobs: GNS scientist, company director, fruit importer, mental health nurse. Someone works for DOC, someone else for the Cancer Society. They come from New Zealand, Samoa and Australia. Many have ridden in big cycling events, but none like this. They look the part in their racing underarmour and lycra, but they have no sponsors, no support except for a truck lumbering behind with water and advice. Before the heat of a Samoan morning gets too sapping they can be hurtling down a mountain hill road, the terrain ahead hardly visible in the semi-darkness. Catastrophe is possible with every metre that flashes by. “In any given second” says Wellington rider Brent Thomas, “you have to expect a pig to run out in front of you.” I don’t think you hear that advice in pre-race briefings back in New Zealand. Downhill these men and women travel at more than twice the speed limit for cars on these roads, racing right on the outer rim of their nerves and talent.
There is no doubt about Christian Wenger’s talent, he seemed unbeatable. Christian works for EQC in Christchurch auditing construction work, and was looking good for his third Tour of Samoa win. But at the end of a sprint stage he came up behind a slow vehicle. The car’s hazard lights were on, and Christian assumed it was part of the Tour, and overtook it. The car wasn’t part of the tour, and its driver turned right into his path. Christian’s collarbone was broken. He dragged his bike across the line, still in the lead, but there would be no third victory. His partner Rebecca Marley was the first woman home, though. Christian stayed to watch her win, grateful for donated painkillers, before he was medevaced to New Zealand. “It’s not just a bike race on a tropical island,” he says; “I love the heat, the hills… the friendships. I always come to Samoa with a mindset that ‘anything can happen’ and for me it did. The Tour means so much to me, and the fact I could not ‘complete’ it was devastating, not to ride the final laps of the Apia clock tower and stand beside the other riders and share the sense of completion…”
Mary Lambie, on one of those dark mornings, slowed at the bottom of a hill, trying to see the riders ahead of her. She slowed too much. A stone on the road that might have been flicked sideways at high speed, flicked the bike sideways instead. Mary had a re-shaped helmet, a long gash on her knee down to the bone and was bleeding from both legs and an elbow. She had 80kms more to ride that day, and finished the stage.
Undeniably the setting is consoling; actually it’s just plain gorgeous, with the blues of the ocean running that clichéd adjectival gamut from azure to turquoise. There is every shade of green on land, and marvellous blooms, teuilas, plumerias, tea flowers, crowded yellows and pinks, reds and purples. Local kids shout “Paapalagi!” as the Tour flashes by. Some of them in a remote village don’t quite understand what is happening, they see the riders as strange entertainment, and throw stones. A big one from a slingshot nearly unseats somebody. “Good thing it hit me, not the bike” he says.
Fa’a Samoa is ‘the way’ of the islands. When you hear about a ‘way’ there is usually religion, as with the modern pilgrimages in Europe like El Camino Santiago. Here too are pilgrims. They are riding for reasons bigger than themselves. For the USO riders from Wellington (“Understand your Strength and Overcome”) there’s a determination to improve health for Maori and Pacific men and women. They want to be behind any initiative that does that. Someone else is honouring the memory of his late Samoan wife by riding her home roads. Chris T’eo from Wellington reached the age of 42 and was not pleased when he stepped on the scales. One day on a fun ride he was exhausted after 18 kilometres on the flat. Now he looks like The Rock. Most of the men and women here have something to prove. One rider’s wife and mother died from cancer.
They don’t seem wide-eyed with zeal. They laugh and joke and prank and drink like any other assemblage of sports men and women, there is nothing solemn about this procession around Samoa. But to tough out 30-degree heat on rough roads, to avoid traffic unused to cyclists travelling at speed, and – perhaps trickiest – to escape being bowled off your bike by one of Samoa’s two hundred thousand peripatetic pigs, this is a tour that needs a special determination.
Obstacles require inspiration. In Samoa there is no escaping inspiration; it’s everywhere, in the slogans for Jesus on the buses, the religious lights and flags in the villages, and in the multiplicity of worship venues. (Apia’s Catholic Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception of Mary is one of the grander churches in the world, with medieval themes whisked across to the Pacific, the Virgin and apostles in stained glass among palm trees, with Mary as matai.)
At first there was no interest in the Ford Tour of Samoa. In the beginning, in 2014, was the word and not much else. Organiser Seti Afoa had given up on getting any entrants. Then came a call from Christian Wenger asking if the race was still on. Seti decided to go ahead, even though it would mean a financial loss. Christian lined up against three locals. Numbers improved in 2015, and the Tour of Samoa may now have reached critical mass. Seti still carries the loss, offset by his successful Samoa Swim Series. 2017 will likely see a small profit. Mike McKay, who placed third in 2016, loves the event because it is “thrilling”, full of the unknown, it heightens his awareness of life. The eventual race winner, Tim Robertson, in his victory speech, said “Out of the enduring comes a beauty and a peace, and it makes you a better person. Riding is freedom, and after you have ridden, the world seems a better place. The bike is the vehicle of freedom.”
You can ride this race as recreation: you will deter the dogs by shouting “Arloo!” (“Go!”) at them, which usually works. You will pedal slowly enough not to collide with pigs. You will have time to say “Talofa” as you cycle through pretty villages, and receive a hundred smiles back. You will stay at resorts that suit either your sense of adventure or your desire for comfort. Even at a sedate pace this ride has a curious extra dimension beyond the physical. The cyclists themselves have the usual mix of personal beliefs, probably reflecting Australasian agnosticism. But Seti Afoa tells a story about how his Swim Series got going.
You must swim between Upolu and Savai’i, a similar distance to Cook Strait. Seti enlisted two local swimmers to test the route, and they set off in perfect weather. Close to Savai’i the weather closed in, the rain swept the ocean, currents grew stronger, the waves became towering, and they could not, literally, see the large island they were only a few hundred metres from. Samoa is fringed by reefs, and this was serious. Did Seti pray? He didn’t say. What he saw was the inter-island ferry looming through the rain, heading for the safe gap in the reef. Furiously they swam for the spot, were carried by the surging waves through the gap, and they were safe.
When this tour is over, there is a curious addendum. If you have succumbed to heat on one of its stages, or had too many punctures, and for whatever reason you haven’t managed to complete part of it, there is a final Redemption Ride. You get up in the morning and make up the distance you didn’t cover. You can bail (certainly riders balked), but only one did not complete the requirement. It says something about the place this event is held in, and the small team who run it. There is one road to redemption around these two big islands, nearly every Samoan lives on that road. As a rider you feel intimate, in a sense, with their lives, and in many ways they have plenty to teach us about the right way to live, where family is everything, no-one goes hungry, and the bonds you are born into stay strong throughout life. It’s not the perfect society, but in these crucial ways it’s better than the one we have. Maybe that is some of the attraction for the palagi cyclists who will go there now in greater numbers.
By Jim Mora
Great to be invited onto The Project to discuss proposed extra medical leave for women only.
Yes, enough is enough. A quality broadcaster but if not funded adequately we all suffer.
Radio NZ host Suzie Ferguson. Radio NZ received around $35 million in the latest financial year. Photo / Mark Mitchell
I expect the Government to end its funding freeze on Radio NZ, with extra cash in the Budget next Thursday. A radio industry source told me it was unlikely the freeze would extend into a ninth year.
The public broadcaster has reinvented itself, supposedly so it no longer threatens the commercial sector, and it must be harder to sustain the claim that it is biased towards Labour.
Evidence of a new RNZ strategy can be seen in the much-lauded series The Ninth Floor, which features Guyon Espiner interviewing former Prime Ministers.
Not only was the series well liked, it also set RNZ apart in the media market, providing content that commercial broadcasters would not touch – not even TVNZ.
Finance Minister Steven Joyce – a former broadcasting entrepreneur – will have been aware of RNZ’s wider strategy, which includes making content available free or at low cost to the commercial media.
In the latest financial year, RNZ got about $35.4 million in total government funding.
Easing the freeze would change the approach taken by the past three National governments.
In my view, many National politicians, including Joyce, dislike public broadcasting, but maybe the broadcaster’s new strategy will allow for a more realistic approach to public broadcasting, at a time when some commercial media are struggling to provide long-form content.
Ironically, success can create problems. When RNZ is down, it is criticised as failing listeners. When it is up, commercial competitors claim that taxpayer funding gives it an unfair advantage.
Latest ratings from researcher GfK show RNZ gaining market share.
Beyond its Budget allocation, RNZ will also be getting a share of the proceeds from the sale and leaseback of its Auckland studios. More assets have been marked for sale, with the proceeds to be shared between RNZ and the consolidated fund under an agreed formula.
Great to see Socius director Jim Mora’s The Panel ( RNZ 4-5 pm) remaining at number one in the afternoon radio market – a slot typically dominated by music radio.
Mark Jennings – Mark Jennings is co-editor of Newsroom. He writes about the media industry, business, and tertiary education.
The rude health of radio as a medium has been reinforced with the release of RNZ’s audience ratings figures. National Radio added 44,200 listeners in the 12-month period to April 8, 2017.
That is an increase of 8 percent, giving National radio a weekly cumulative audience of 579,400 listeners, making it the second most listened to station after The Edge according to the GfK survey.
The survey of commercial radio stations was released a week ago and had the MediaWorks’ station on top with a cumulative reach of 662,300 listeners.
The surveys showed radio – public and commercial – is growing at a time when audiences for “print” and “Free to Air” television are falling.
Radio people like to refer to their medium as the “cockroach” of the industry. The latest survey shows not only are more people listening to radio but they are listening longer.
The average time per week a National radio listener spent tuned into the station went up from 12 hours 28 minutes a week to 12 hours 45 minutes.
RNZ CEO Paul Thompson gives some of the credit to technology.
“We’re in an age where everyone has a radio in their pocket these days in the form of a smart phone. You can also do other things while you are listening to the radio, this ability to multi-task means you can still have radio in the mix, that’s not the case for other media. They are not weathering the storm in the same way as us.”
On May 3rd I was pleased to be asked to open a debate/discussion in front of the London Business School Alumni Club’s Auckland chapter. This is an annual evening, with alumni of other leading international business schools like HBS, Yale, INSEAD IMD, AGSM Sydney, Melbourne Business School. The topic was “It’s The End Of The World As We Know It.” I affirmed it, well-known economic commentator Bernard Hickey negated it, and Massey University Vice-Chancellor Jan Thomas took a middle-ground position.
Here is a rough transcript of my argument –
Mostly my position is fairly orthodox. It consists of three strands of doom, three tendrils – greed, debt and robots. I’m considering climate change and over-population as givens.
I’ll look at greed first. We’re not being paid for this evening, even though you are an audience of top leaders and professionals. You wouldn’t expect we would be paid, the idea of being here for a discussion is enough. If Barack Obama were here, on the other hand…
Barack Obama, the great hope of our time, the best speaker I have ever heard… “we are the change that we seek”. He said income inequality is the defining issue of our time. Barack leaves office, and promptly starts hobnobbing with billionaires. Senator Elizabeth Warren, in the same political camp as the ex-President, said she was “troubled” that he would pocket $400,000 for a speech to a top Manhattan investment firm. “One of the things I talk about in my new book” she said “is the influence of money. It’s a snake that slithers through Washington.” She suggested it corrupts and even imperils democracy.
My position is that trust has been lost in the institutions of authority in the West. We’re uneasy when even the President with perfect principles gets rich in office and then leaves and does this. That feeds into what we recognise as the routine ‘doom’ argument , and I’m quoting more or less from a characterisation of it I saw online a few days ago – “The elite have gorged themselves on globalism, free trade and Wall Street casino-style gambling. They have let us down, we cannot trust them or their values anymore. They haven’t even been good at running things. The losses have been socialised and the profits privatised.”
The Dodd-Frank legislation in America, which shut the stable door after the GFC horses had bolted, doesn’t, apparently, stop financial institutions being too big to fail again and be bailed out again, according to some recent analysis. The core issue has not been addressed. Governments and lawmakers still care about people, and try to make their lives better, if only sometimes to get re-elected. But no-one can tackle greed. This is an undoubted epoch of greed, with shareholders simply demanding – or rather not resisting – so much more profit all the time that this now threatens civilisation itself, i.e. civilised society. The common wealth has been neglected, despised. So, governments address an inequality that they cannot solve.
There are experiments with a Universal Benefit, which others call the magic money tree. We may be able to talk about that later.
We have seen the death of restraint, or to use the old-fashioned word, niceness. I once interviewed Professor Kenneth Minogue from the LSE, he was a great man of his day, and he told me that moral authority had had its day in (e.g.) education. He reckoned the collapse of moral authority is irreversible, and can only return when some outside agent or agency forces changes on society. And that will happen around about now, is very possibly happening as we sit here. I also interviewed Professor Nicholas Boyle from Cambridge, the author of the book 2014: How To Survive The Next World Crisis. His very interesting and persuasive thesis is that in the second decade of every recent century, because it’s then that centuries really change, an event inevitably occurs that determines the shape of the rest of that century for good or ill. Think World War 1, or in the century before that the Congress of Vienna, which bestowed stability for the next 75 years, more or less. His supposition is that around about now, the agent is about to appear, and will likely originate as economic turmoil. And Mervyn King who has just written “The End of Alchemy” might say it may well start in the banking sector.
Trump is not an outlier, he is a messenger, a harbinger. He is one of the game-changers. He is the change that we were subconsciously seeking.
And actually, as I say that, don’t you think it’s right? Can’t you sense in your bones that the world is teetering on the brink of something, whether it’s an abyss or not? The world is sick of the way it’s been going, at a kind of Gaian level? Grant Cleary from Cleary Wealth Management who’s here tonight thinks a version of this is right. I’ll do him the honour of paraphrasing aspects of a recent talk of his:
When elites rise higher and higher while the masses are in morasses the outcomes are never good. Markets are unsustainably high, the bond market is blowing up, increased interest rates and inflation will disrupt other markets like housing. The weight of the EU economy is crushing Europe. America’s forthcoming infrastructure and defence spending means more jobs and together with Trump’s tax cuts there’ll be increased debt and increased inflation. Bonds are at the end of a 36-year bull run, the sharemarket in America has been good for 8 years. We assume it can go on. But that suspends the law of physics. It’s like that moment when Wile E. Coyote runs off the edge of the cliff and manages to suspend himself in mid-air for a few moments by frantically kicking his legs. We are in that economic phase known as leg-kicking.
Irving Fisher from Yale was one of America’s finest economists, he’s still regarded that way. He’s the one who said stocks have reached a permanently high plateau in 1929, three days before the stock market crashed. When it did crash, it seemed inconceivable to him that evident value in shares could be ignored. And that is the trouble with the economist’s point of view. Only a few people are economists. The rest have human nature.
We insist on growth, growth, growth, because the machine won’t run without it, but there are too many now running after the machine.
Predictions are hard, I admit. I collect them. It’s a hobby. And every so often I have gathered enough to write them up for a piece in a magazine, so we can all have a good laugh. People always get the future wrong. The cleverer they are the more wrong they are. There are the famous examples, like (in 1878) Sir William Preece, the chief engineer of the Post Office, predicting “The Americans have need of the telephone, but we do not. We have plenty of messenger boys.”
We’re still waiting for the microwaves in our cars that Cuisine magazine foresaw in 1989. We’d be preparing meals on our way to and our way home from work. Not completely unlikely now with Auckland traffic, of course.
Just before the GFC I clearly remember a U.S. economist saying that 1929 could never happen again because of sophisticated financial mechanisms now… which turned out to be credit default swaps, whereby I buy from you a loan you’ve approved for a man in a trailer park with an alcohol addiction whom you’ve talked into buying a house. The sophisticated financial mechanisms in 2017 are essentially an anxious consensus by finance ministers to ignore debt. But debt cannot be ignored no matter how much money you print and it has now reached 330% of world GDP. 74 trillion dollars’ worth of economy and 152 trillion dollars’ worth of debt… and a productivity slowdown. It is like owning a house worth a million dollars and owing two million on it, hoping for a capital gain of 100% and trying to pay the interest while you’re only getting part-time work. Inflation can float debt away, but only with productivity.
Apple CEO Tim Cook gave a speech in China the other day. He said globalisation was generally “great” for the world. But the problem is the pain. The pain is getting greater and nearer. Donald Trump got elected because of the pain. The pain is complex, it’s not just no jobs, but no jobs will be the paramount pain.
Yuval Harari the Israeli university lecturer who wrote the best-seller Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, says what’s on the way is a massive new stratum of society he calls the “useless class.” Citizens “devoid of any economic, political or even artistic value, who contribute nothing to the prosperity, power and glory of society.”
The uber driver, himself or herself a tremendously disruptive force, will not be able to make the change to become a skilled software engineer when the skilled software engineers make the uber drivers obsolete. Uber itself is investing hugely in autonomous vehicles.
Only a few will own the algorithms.
It’s not inequality that necessarily contains the seeds of a society’s demise. What will sink us is the weight of the people he calls useless. The trouble is they’re not useless, at the moment many of them are like you and me, consumers, but when they can no longer be consumers… they are… useless.
In past decades, global inequality has fallen, yes, but people were earning the money. We won’t be able to carry all these people. We will bypass a big cohort of them.
But before the masses succumb to their fate, when they realise their jobs have gone – or if they have jobs they’ll have to endlessly upskill and be fluid and be disrupted and work 60 hours a week to be one of the valuable ones – before that inevitability… comes an unmanageable schemozzle.
Science fiction writers are always best at predicting the future, and have you noticed it is all dystopian? The haves live in walled enclaves while the have-nots wail and gnash their teeth in the exterior darkness on the other side of high, Trumpish walls.
You can put doors in walls, there is a way out of this, there will be a way out after the almighty mess, whatever that will be… but right now there is no map. No-one seems to have a map. And with the amount of greed in the world, untrammelled, it would need to be printed on $100 notes for anyone to look at it. That’s the problem
It was an honour to be asked to deliver the address at the Anzac Day Memorial service at the Ranfurly war veterans’ complex in Three Kings. It has existed since 1903, built by Lord Ranfurly as a memorial to New Zealand soldiers who served in the Boer War. He thought it more valuable than a statue, and so it has proven to be. The original house is now being wonderfully refurbished, and around it will be 200 retirement units, to subside the work of the Trust in looking after the veterans of numerous conflicts since World War 2. So, the complex is deeply connected with our military past, and the strategy for its future viability is a smart integration process with the needs of the wider older community. It’s a very clever way of moving forward. The impressive hospital in the grounds has a lovely Field of Remembrance outside now, and on the door of the hospital rooms are names and ranks… it is so nice to see these men and women acknowledged so well, cared for so well. What I said was this, more or less –
Service hasn’t always been so well acknowledged. I’m old enough to remember that long period when Anzac Day was taken for granted, until New Zealand’s younger people made it once again the great day of remembrance that it should be. Aside from reaching the rank of sergeant in school cadets, by finding a stripe in the storeroom and promoting myself from corporal, I have had nothing to do with war. Like many of us here. We are part of the lucky cohort that has never seen war, and of course everyone worries now if that golden era is about to be over. Who knows? I collect predictions. That’s one of my hobbies. Humans are not very good at predictions. When New York’s first apartment building, speaking of building apartments, was planned in 1869, a prominent architect said it would fail, because gentlemen would never live on shelves. Most predictions have a short shelf life, and it’s the same when it comes to war.
The BBC was looking at the peaceful state of the world at the beginning of 2014. Between 1950 (when the Korean War started) and 2007, 150,000 people had died on average every year from war. From 2008 to 2013 that figure dropped dramatically, to 28,000 per year. So, the BBC’s political editor surmised it would even be lower in 2014 and keep getting lower. But 2014 was the year of change – 163,000 deaths. Fatalities have kept climbing. In that same year, the New York Times ran an op-ed with the headline ‘The End of War?’. The well-known economist Julian Simon was quoted. It was his opinion that there was “less and less to be gained economically from it. As people get richer and smarter, their lives and their knowledge become far more valuable than the land, minerals and natural resources they used to fight over.”
That sounded good three years ago; but we live again in uncertain times, as we always used to. Every New Zealander knows about Gallipoli, a decent number know about the slaughter at the Somme and Ypres and Passchendaele. Not many Kiwis, now, know that by the end of the Great War we were the best fighting force in the British army, and in the last 100 days of that war the New Zealanders spearheaded victory after victory. And it was that success that killed my great-uncle Joseph McCreanor.
I had to search the graveyards to find Joe. Our High Commissioner back then wanted NZ’s memorials not to be included on the great Menin Gate in Ypres, which has 55,000 names on it. 500,000 died in the salient around the town. You have to hunt for our names.
Down the road, for example, at Messines, is a graveyard surrounded by farmland, and it was a nice day when we were there, with paddocks of llamas and ponies, and in the distance the hazy pastel outlines of ridges and copses. It’s impossible now to imagine batteries of guns on those ridges, or the knee-deep mud on the flat land. Men of the Auckland, Otago, Wellington and Canterbury regiments have their names on the walls there: from the Machine Gun Corps, the Entrenching Battalion, the Maori Battalion; 700 died at Messines. Right now, if you take yourself back a century, that battle is still a few weeks away. 100 years ago today, New Zealanders were fighting just down the road at Arras, another huge conflict.
But while we know so much about Gallipoli, much of the intricate detail of it, very few really of the post-Gallipoli stories are told, and those stories are about great guts, without much glory. There are a few RSA poppies wedged in cracks in the walls at Messines, to show we do visit sometimes. And poppies there are an everyday item, part of the merchandise of tourism: poppy pins, poppy tins, even poppy chocolates.
On Anzac Day two years ago, getting back to my Uncle Joseph, we joined other New Zealanders setting off in the footsteps of the New Zealand Rifle Brigade, marching to assault the fortified town of Le Quesnoy in 1918. This is thankfully becoming well-known history now. Big, thick, 30-foot high walls around the town like a mediaeval castle. The New Zealanders were put in charge of an actual battle for the first time, and they were brilliant. They launched a hugely skilled and successful operation in which no civilians died. They dropped smoke bombs from their mortars right on top of those walls.
It is very moving to stand underneath the wall where Second Lieutenant Leslie Averill went up a rickety ladder armed with a pistol to lead the New Zealanders into the town, expecting at any moment to be shot; dozens of his comrades already had been. Second lieutenants had high casualty rates, they were often intrepid NCOs promoted in the field. Leslie Averill had won a Military Cross at Bapaume a few weeks earlier, and no doubt he knew my Uncle Joe.
It took me a long time to find Joseph in the Bancourt British Military Cemetery, in northern France, in the middle of nowhere. These graveyards are all beautifully maintained, but they are so far from home. And I sat down next to him and all I could think of saying was “We’ve come to see you at last, Joe. Thank you.”
My mother’s family had come out from Ireland; and Joe came too. Joe was in the Royal Marines, and he deserted. He found work as a porter at the Auckland Railway Station and one day he ran into none other than his commanding officer, who was somehow in Auckland. Nothing was done. Joe obviously didn’t forget this, he could presumably have been arrested and court-martialled. There was a deserters’ amnesty when war broke out, and Joe signed up. He loved his family, he had every reason to stay, but he went. He sailed from Wellington with the New Zealand Division and ended up in the 2nd Brigade, which bore the brunt of fighting at Passchendaele and Messines.
Joe was praised in despatches; he was a Lewis Gunner. He made corporal, and then sergeant. The war was only weeks from ending, as it turned out, when the 2nd Brigade rolled the Germans back in the turning-point battle of Bapaume. And you would think this name, Bapaume, would be known by every Kiwi, but we have chosen to remember that war in a different way.
At night, our men had very little cover in the open fields. It was Sniper’s Alley for the Germans. Before dawn on the 1st of September 1918 Joe was shot. That day the New Zealanders broke through and the Germans fled. And they kept fleeing from then on, pretty much. If Joe had lasted one more day, he probably would have survived the war.
But I didn’t know any of that when I sat down beside him, I thought he had made the rank of sergeant and redeemed himself and served well enough, and that was it. But he had received the DCM for extreme bravery on the Western Front. And I saw on the headstone that he had died a Second Lieutenant and been awarded the Military Cross.
We’re now seeing the centenaries of battles where our losses well and truly exceeded those at Gallipoli: 5,000 New Zealand soldiers died at Passchendaele alone. 1000 men who didn’t come back from the Somme have no graves at all. We may have been fighting a vainglorious British war, as some say, but we were valiant.
It may seem to all of us in 2017 that war is simply hell, and simply useless, but it is also simply amazing what men and women were capable of. Nurses were killed on the front lines too. If you’re being shelled by artillery I think you can call that the front line. That’s how some of the nurses died, just doing their rounds. So, although we fight wars with no front lines anymore, it was the same for them sometimes.
It is simply humbling to read about these levels of courage; these were people who should be far better remembered. Anzac Day commemorates all our wars and conflicts, 42 of them since Vietnam, but it began because of that Great War, which robbed New Zealand of a generation of great men and women. 100 years ago, a lot of them were about to die heroic deaths.
Thank you again for asking me to speak, and far greater thanks to all the people here today who have seen service, and who have their own stories to tell, and they are stories we need to listen to, because the leaders of the world at the moment seem to have forgotten them.
It would be wonderful if we continued to look at those crosses in the graveyards with admiration… but if we never had any more of them to look at from now on. That’s not a prediction.
Found this interesting insight into expected social media movements this year. The greatest advice we can offer is stay on top of your social media ( we can help with this) . Remember the social media world never sits still and you don’t want to be left behind.
Written by Ash Read Nov 21, 2016 – What does the future look like for social media?
That’s a question we regularly discuss here at Buffer and one we’re not quite sure anyone has a concrete answer to. However, there are some clues out there as to what the future in 2017, and beyond, may look like.
As part of our State of Social Media week, it feels like a great time to sit back and reflect on the social media landscape and what may be ahead. So let’s take a look at some of social media’s biggest platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter) and discuss where they’re heading and what trends to look out for in 2017.
Ready to jump in?
Before we jump into each platform individually, I first wanted to touch on something that’s been a trend throughout the year.
2016 has been a period of consolidation for many of the biggest social media platforms out there. It seems that most products launch in a niche, with a unique perspective or angle, and then once they begin to hit critical mass, they start to blend into one another.
Let me explain…
Until the launch of Memories, Snapchat had always been about unpolished, in-the-moment content. Instagram was always the place for us to share only our best images and videos until they opened up Stories and encouraged users to share more Snapchat-like content.
The blur between Snapchat and Instagram isn’t the only case of platform consolidation we’ve seen in 2016 either. For example:
In 2017, I believe we’ll likely see more of this trend with every the major platform battling it out to become the go-to place for short, snackable and in-the-moment content. And by the end of 2017, we’ll likely see most of the major platforms enabling users to:
Consultation to establish long and short term goals relating to communication, messaging, social media presence within your business and personal / career profile enhancement.
Written communication strategy outlining how to achieve desired goals.
Re-design, where necessary, of C.V, profiles and imagery – LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Blogs, Youtube, Instagram.
Search engine optimisation (S.E.O)
For further information and pricing contact email@example.com or phone 0274 838 800.
Development and maintenance of your social and traditional media presence
Reputation monitoring – noting online mentions and anticipating issues
S.E.O – an ongoing process to burnish your online profile.
Strategies to enhance online and tradional media relevance for career and personal profile positioning.
Email and phone communication regarding profile status