A round of applause please...

I have huge admiration for people who are prepared to step out of their comfort zone and onto the stage for the enjoyment and entertainment of the rest of us. There's something uniquely special about live performances, whether they be musical, dramatic...... Read More

A dining experience hard to swallow

I enjoyed a short getaway over the long weekend — recharged the batteries and got a last glimpse of the sun before winter hibernation. During the course of this self-indulgence I had time to browse some shops and, while doing so, took the opportunity...... Read More

Refugees healthy for community

Refugees. Make it a 'crisis' if you want, but it is actually a blessing. I was utterly dismayed to read Invercargill's esteemed mayor's response to the announcement that the city will host a number of refugees. In fact I am utterly...... Read More

New beginnings

Greetings to you all keeping warm after that big polar blast. Our big news here on the ranch is the arrival of our first foal. Falco popped out late in the evening of the 10th of May. Olina checked the horses as she arrived back from ukulele practice...... Read More

Apologies to the apostrophe

There's a plague facing our great nation: everyday on message boards, forum comments, and sadly even advertisements, the scourge shows up inflicting more damage onto our innocent populace than we even realise. No-one, it seems, knows how to use...... Read More

Respect for our elders

June is Elder Abuse Awareness month. Older people are a vital, significant and valuable part of our society and should be treated with dignity and respect. Yet each year thousands of older New Zealanders are subjected to harm and distress, often, by...... Read More

Make a difference

The Tuatapere Community Worker Support Trust recently hosted a Community Information Night. One of the presenters was from the Electoral Commission who shocked us with some of the historical statistics regarding voter registration and turnout. It is...... Read More

The changing face of Southlanders

It's clear that immigration will be a significant flashpoint for this year's election and recent changes announced by Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse don't appear to have done anything to change that. Clutha Southland MP Todd Barclay,...... Read More

Young voters — disinterested or under educated?

I threatened a couple of weeks ago to rant about public apathy towards local government and even politics in general. I was intending to spare you that — at least until closer to the election — but recent coverage around the so-called "disenfranchised"...... Read More

Time to take an interest

The Southland District Council is back to square one when it comes to finding a new location for Te Anau's new wastewater sewerage scheme, but that doesn't mean we, the ratepayer, should stop keeping a close eye on it. It's to the fault of...... Read More

In support of good governance

While lying low these past few weeks, I've been disappointed that, in my absence, others haven't taken to the public opinion columns in support of our community boards questioning the apparent dumbing down of the information they're getting...... Read More

A balancing act

I got out of bed, And, once watered and fed, Went off on my bike down the road, My job, you see, is to lighten the load, Of those with some woe, or funny shaped toe. The first wore a frown – his stool was not brown, But frothy, and white and...... Read More

Opportunities abound

I have been offered the opportunity to be a "Hot Topic" columnist and write a bit of a blurb on a few occasions throughout the year so it will be great to be able to keep you all up with the happenings in my role at Winton Community Support...... Read More

A wee problem with water quality

Off the Record Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith, along with his government colleagues, has come under some heavy criticism during the last couple of weeks, after announcing their plan to "clean up" the country's freshwater systems.  To...... Read More


Risk To laugh is to risk appearing the fool. To weep is to risk appearing sentimental. To reach out to another is to risk involvement. To expose feelings is to risk exposing your true self. To place your dreams, ideas before a crowd is to risk their...... Read More

Community Cohesion

Tuatapere Topics There is a tale of two small rural towns. Both with similar populations, similar local industries, an ageing population, an exodus of youth and little employment opportunities. In five years, one of the towns has revitalised...... Read More

Hunters valuing conservation

Congratulations to the Fiordland Wapiti Foundation on its latest project teaming with the Kea Conservation Trust to help preserve the kea population in Southland. Hunters are being encouraged to report their sightings of the native parrot during the...... Read More

A show to remember

John Barker is a monthly contributor to the Advocate's farming pages about rural life in the Czech Republic. A former Southlander, he previously farmed at The Key with his father Maurice but moved to Czech in 2000. He is now based there with his Czech...... Read More

The ageing face of social media

13-Year-old Kelsey* deftly swipes through Facebook, checking out friends’ profiles and photos. One condition of Kelsey being allowed to sign up to Facebook, was that she become Facebook “friends” with her mother, 40-year-old Megan*,...... Read More