Daily Bite August 2009

By Nicola Harvey

This month in the Daily Bite: Sir Sam considered too grand, supercities, fashion fads and much more.

31.08.09: Elle’s labradoodle in the limelight

Big news in the fashion scene this week, according to UK Vogue Elle Macpherson’s labradoodle, Bella, has landed a modeling contract as the face of Dogside.com. The five-year-old pooch appears on doggie-eye-level billboards in Britain, and is said to earn “a substantial five-figure sum” for his work.
 We suppose the old adage of “it’s who you know” rings true for animal modeling too. Go figure.

30.08.09: A royal goodbye 

Under the rain filled clouds of Massachusetts the famous, infamous and powerful said good bye to the “lion of the senate”.  In a moving eulogy for the man whose endorsement in the 2008 campaign was like the passing of a sword from Camelot, President Barack Obama said: “The world will long remember their son Edward as the heir to a weighty legacy, a champion for those who had none, the soul of the Democratic Party, and the lion of the United States Senate — a man whose name graces nearly 1,000 laws, and who penned more than 300 laws himself.”
At the end of a ceremony fit for royalty Ted Kennedy was buried at Arlington National Cemetery next to his brothers John and Bobby Kennedy.

29:08.09: Still devoted

Her husband’s approval rating may have just hit an all-time low, but our devotion to Michelle O is still as strong as ever.  How can you not admire a first lady who has the confidence to wear shorts in front of the world’s media?  So we thought we’d end this week’s Daily Bite with a few sage words from our favourite first lady: “One of the lessons that I grew up with was to always stay true to yourself and never let what somebody else says distract you from your goals”.
Also, here’s a little question for you to muse on over the weekend:  Why is Michelle Obama the 46th first lady and Barack Obama the 44th President?

28.08.09: The end of Big Brother
Finally, the days of Big Brother are over! 

Well in Britain at least, but one can dream the trend will catch on.
Australian ex-pat and academic agitator Germaine Greer has been one of the more aggressive dissenters from the Big Brother camp following her abrupt departure from Celebrity Big Brother in 2005. She’s never held back on vocalising her dislike of the show and this week’s announcement is no exception.
“The messy, extrovert neighbours we have been peering at through our lace curtains will soon be moving away and their jerry-built house will be demolished. Somewhere out of sight, they will continue to release pop songs that don’t make the charts, record derivative exercise videos, merchandise cheap scent, get married, behave badly, get divorced, have nervous breakdowns and/or their breasts enlarged, but no one will be watching. The 11th series will limp to air next summer; that, according to Channel 4 director of television Kevin Lygo, will be its “natural endpoint”, she writes.
“… at last Big Brother can be buried at the crossroads. Let’s hope the final series has the Man himself dragged out of his hiding place, arraigned by the housemates who are the worse for the experience, and sentenced to condign punishment for perverting the nation’s taste. That I would watch.”
Indeed, now that might be worth watching, but it’s unlikely to be in better taste!

27.08.09: FASHION!

What a confusing, complex industry
So black is the new black, to coin the greatest fashion cliche of all, according to a cluster of fashion observers. But when was black not the mainstay in fashion circles? When has the little black dress, so memorably paraded by Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly in Breakfast At Tiffany’s and Jacqueline Kennedy (in a dignified black shift designed by Oleg Cassini) at her husband John F. Kennedy’s funeral, not been the height of fashion? 
Black has long been a sort of uniform for all women of taste.  So, we ask, why all of a sudden is the fashion world announcing that black is once back?
Rei Kawakubo (pictured), the venerated independent Japanese fashion designer behind Comme Des Garcons, recently announced the launch of a new line, rather unsurprisingly (given the designer’s propensity for the colour through the decades) named BLACK. As Susannah Frankel of the Independent wryly observed Comme Des Garcons “felt it was necessary to do something in response to the negativity engendered by the recession and to counter the feelings of things being blocked or stopped because of the crisis …”, and thus BLACK was conceived.
BLACK,” says Adrian Joffe, Comme des Garcons CEO and Kawakubo’s husband of 17 years, “is an emergency, guerrilla-like, temporary brand”.
Is it just us or do these qualities seem slightly antithetical to a project trying to counter negativity? Well, perhaps not if you consider Christian Dior‘s reasoning.  Black, he mused, was “the most popular and the most convenient and elegant of colours.
“It is the most slimming of all colours and, unless you have a bad complexion, it is one of the most flattering. You can wear black at any time. You can wear it at any age. You may wear it for almost any occasion.”
Such an approach to fashion is not exactly light and breezy, but it is certainly a way forward for all those fashion devotees in need of a recession buster.

26.08.09: Scaring small children

 If you thought the modus operandi of Gen Y revolved around ipods, iphones, job-hopping, facebook and an overwhelming reluctance to leave home, then here’s a new trend to add to the list of generalisations.  According to News.com young women in their 20s are turning to Botox to follow fleeting fashion trends, and are as blasé about using it as hair dye.
The head of the Cosmetic Physicians Society, Dr Gabrielle Caswell, said getting Botox had become as acceptable as dying hair.
What’s more, while older women may be concerned with fixing lines and wrinkles, Gen Y are flocking to change the shape of their eyebrows and lips for as little as three months, experts say.
20-year-old Rae-Leigh Ganter told Brisbane newspaper The Sunday Mail in an article last year that she had Botox injections every three months to stave off wrinkles and lines.
“Lots of people say I am too young but it is a personal choice,” Ms Ganter said at the time.
“I did it for a couple of reasons but mainly because I work in the (cosmetic) industry and had developed a line between my eyebrows and wanted to do something about it.”
A line! Perhaps it was a result of laughing too much… or not, as the case may be.
To put this alarming trend into perspective let’s consider a few wise words from those who actually make their living under the spotlight.
“Cosmetic surgery is terrifying. It never looks good. Those women look weird. They look in the mirror and think they look great, but they don’t see what we see. I think it’s hideous. They scare small children.” – Jerry Hall
“Plastic surgery and breast implants are fine for people who want that, if it makes them feel better about who they are. But, it makes these people, actors especially, fantasy figures for a fantasy world. Acting is about being real being honest.” – Kate Winslet

Well said, we say. 

 25.08.09: Is this the style of power?

Vanity Fair released its 2009 Best-Dressed List earlier this month and it wasn’t that long ago that these sorts of lists were powerful measures of a star’s clout. But does anybody really care anymore? Such magazines once had a sharp sense of the zeitgeist and were good at plucking young stars out of the mix just before they hit the big time. But has this era passed?
What do you think?  Is this a list of the best dressed, or simply best dressed with the aid of a stylist?

24.08.09: ‘No’ to Super City Maori seats

John Key’s National Cabinet has rejected a push for Maori seats on the Auckland Super City council.
The New Zealand Prime Minister made the announcement from Parliament this afternoon.
The decision follows a week marked by turmoil within the National ranks.  According the New Zealand Herald, Act leader Rodney Hide admitted he had told Prime Minister John Key he would resign as Minister of Local Government rather than have his name on legislation introducing the seats.
The Royal Commission recommended three Maori seats – two to be elected by voters on the Maori roll and one to be appointed by a mana whenua forum, an advisory group to the council made up of local iwi representatives.
Ahead of further disquiet, Mr Key said Mr Hide and Mr Sharples would now work together to determine the best way for Maori to be represented on the Super City.

23.08.09: Protecting our children

As calls increase to introduce anti-smacking laws in Australia, New Zealand parents have reconsidered their position. The New Zealand anti-smacking legislation, introduced in 2007, has been called into question following the nation-wide referendum which ended Friday, resulting in more than 87 per cent of voters indicating a preference for the law to be overturned. The New Zealand Prime Minister, quoted in the Sun-Herald, said he “took the message seriously” and would put a series of proposals to cabinet this week.
The matter at hand is of world-wide concern, and Australia, in particular, is watching the situation in New Zealand closely.  The United Nations has twice criticised Australia for failing to prohibit corporal punishment in the home, in accordance with its obligations under the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Sun-Herald reported. 
The international trend is in line with New Zealand’s 2007 legislation, with some 24 countries , mostly in Latin America and Europe, enacting similar legislation. However, Mr Key, in an interview on Newstalk ZB radio iterated: “I’ve always said if the law doesn’t work I would change it, so it’s important we make sure that we can understand clearly and without bias whether the law is working or not.”

22.08.09: A new take on throw-away fashion

In the count down to Air New Zealand Fashion Week this September, fashion students from NZ Fashion Tech have embraced the idea of ephemeral fashion and created delicate summer frocks out of Kleenex toilet tissue.  Louise Barnes, Yao Chen and Lua Talaoloa E’etau’s exquisitely soft, white, rippled dresses (pictured) will add a touch of frivolity to the serious business of fashion week.

21.08.09: Oh how the mighty fall

No one says no to Annie Leibovitz. Not Her Majesty the Queen, not Hollywood’s royalty, not the President of the United States, nor the superstars of the music and literary worlds. Leibovitz is responsible for some of the world’s most iconic magazine covers—a naked John Lennon with Yoko Ono for Rolling Stone, Demi Moore, naked and pregnant, for Vanity Fair, for example. 
For decades her work regularly graced the pages of Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair and Vogue, earning her worldwide renown and soliciting comparisons to the titans of modern photography Richard Avedon and Helmut Newton.
However, the famed photographer’s winning streak may be about to come to an end. By 8 September Leibovitz must repay US$24m in loans to a financial company. Failure to do so could bring the loss of her home in Greenwich Village, a house in upstate New York, and – perhaps most gallingly – the rights to her entire life’s work.
Despite a contract reportedly worth US$2m a year with Conde Nast, the owners of Vanity Fair, as well as tens of thousands from private shoots, Leibovitz has lost a grip on her finances.
The impending possibility of the financial implosion of one of New York’s towering names, whose celebrity status is almost as exalted as that of the subjects of her portraits,  according to New York Magazine, has given birth to a new parlour game: pondering how Annie Leibovitz could have got into such a mess.
But as The Guardian mused: “Leibovitz is now learning the hard way that glossy magazines and real life are not always the same thing.”

20.08.09: Thoroughly un-European

New Zealand’s Law Commission president Sir Geoffrey Palmer announced this week that he believes it’s time for the country to start dishing out fines for being drunk in a public place.  Binge drinking is not just a youth problem Palmer claims, and despite politicians believing they could  “introduce a European sophisticated drinking culture” the cold, hard truth is that binge drinking is ingrained in the antipodean culture.
What do you think? Should the law be amended so that being drunk in a public place is deemed a fineable offence?

19.08.09: New Zealand mourns a literary icon
Poet, playwright and novelist Alistair Te Ariki Campbell(1925–2009) died this week, age 84, after a short illness.
Campbell came to the literary fore as part of the “Wellington group” in the late ‘40s, which included James K Baxter, Louis Johnson and W H Oliver.  His contribution to the nation’s culture continued throughout his career and he was acknowledged as a leader among his peers becoming an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit.Chair of the Creative New Zealand Pacific Arts Committee, Pele Walker commented, “Alistair Te Ariki Campbell has made an enormous contribution to all literature and played a vital role in the development of Pacific writing, particularly poetry… His work records the cross cultural experience of a Pacific person living in New Zealand and has laid the foundations for a Pacific literary tradition to grow in this country”.

18.08.09: Five easy tips for robbing a music store
1. Frequent the store so the shop assistant considers you a valued customer.
2. Order albums regularly and ensure you leave contact details so the staff can notify you when the album arrives.
3. Reserve an album (by a out-of-fashion 1970s band) the same hour you decide to rob the store.
4. Leave your name on a piece of paper so the shop assistant knows who the album is for.
5. Make your move for the till when fellow shoppers are watching, but the assistant is distracted. 
 Then just sit back and watch as the world has a chuckle at your expense and labels you the most “incompetent criminal ever”.

17.08.09: Why not just drive in the middle?

Burma switched sides in 1970, Iceland in 1968 and Sweden in 1967. Now the Pacific island of Samoa wants people to switch from right to left when driving on the road, sparking protests and fears of chaos when the rule change comes in next month.
According to a report in The Age: “The residents of at least two small villages have decided not to allow any cars through their town unless they are driving on the right as they do now, a community action group says.”
Samoans have driven on the right side of the road for more than a century, like their neighbours in American Samoa. But the prime minister, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, wants to put an end to the import of costly left-hand-drive cars, particularly big American “gas-guzzlers”, and to encourage the 250,000 Samoans who live in Australia and New Zealand, where people drive on the left, to send cars home.

16.08.09: Monroe Heaven
Want to spend eternity next to Marilyn Monroe?

Now you can, because the burial spot located just above the ill-fated starlet is going on sale for a cool $US500,000 ($594,106) on auction website eBay.
“Here is a once in a lifetime and into eternity opportunity to spend your eternal days directly above Marilyn Monroe,” the sale advertisement on the site says.
Being buried close to Monroe has already proved a draw for some, with Playboy magazine founder Hugh Hefner  purchasing a spot to the side of the sex-symbol’s for $US75,000 ($89,116) in 1992.For those who do not have $US500,000 ($594,106) to spend on the space at the cemetery, which is also the final resting place for Natalie Wood, Truman Capote and Farrah Fawcett, there is still a free crypt space two spots above Monroe to the left. The going price for that spot is a mere $US250,000 ($297,053).

15.08.09: Float like a butterfly

Muhammad Ali’s daughter is keen on it. She’s often seen floating like a butterfly around the ring, as her father did before. Female gym buffs dedicated to the latest fitness fad have been taking hybrid classes based on the delicate moves for some time, and we have a suspicion Madonna has taken class or two based on the size of her biceps. And now, the International Olympic Committee has given women’s boxing the nod for the London 2012 Olympic games. Many have met the news with celebration, as Jonathan Brown in the UK Independent elaborates: “Women’s boxing is coming home. Nearly 300 years after Elizabeth Wilkinson, known to her many fans as the Cockney Championess, ventured up west to Oxford Circus to punch, maul and even kick her rival Martha Jones into submission in the first recorded fight of its kind, female pugilists are to be welcomed into the permanent Olympic fold [for the first time since 1904]  – beginning right back where it all started.”
Meeting in the German capital the IOC also voted to recommend that rugby sevens and golf be included in the program for the 2016 Olympic Games – a decision that will perhaps excite a few more antipodeans than the aforementioned news.

14.08.09: Battle of the fashion victims
One’s an angular, former pop star turned pop idol with a penchant for fake tan, stilettos and pursed lips.  The other is a supermodel. Not much of a competition really, is it?
The 46-year-old Aussie lingerie entrepreneur, Elle Macpherson, stepped out in London two weeks ago wearing the same Carmontelle cashmere-blend dress previously spotted on Posh Spice, and proved once-and-for-all that a few curves (note the emphasis is on ‘a few’, because let’s be frank she’s not exactly voluptuous) beats the razor-sharp angles any day of the week.

13.08.09: What is wine without soul?

It is largely undisputed that the French are staunchly proud of a couple things: the tri-colour, their intelligentsia, smelly cheese, smelly black fungi, and of course, wine.
Their centuries-old wine industry has consistently produced some of the finest wines in the world.  But this tradition is under threat, and for once it’s not from the up-start, New World wine makers.
Climate change is problem.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald desperate French winemakers are begging political leaders to agree on a climate change policy at Copenhagen, fearing if action is not taken soon “their wines could lose their souls”.
Unlike the New World where grape varieties are not designated to certain regions, France is governed by strict appellation rules which dictate that the highest mark of quality can go to only certain varieties in certain areas. Bordeaux is renowned for its “claret” – a Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot blend. Burgundy (Bourgogne) is New Zealand’s natural rival producing fine pinot noir and chardonnay, and, of course, Champagne needs no explanation.
But as the world’s climate changes these grape varieties are no longer ideal for the traditional areas. Higher temperature means some French wines, “now have higher alcohol content, their textures are heavier, [and] there is too much sun in the range of flavours”. While some New World makers may relish this development, the news is also met with a hint of sadness. All of a sudden the playing field seems a little uneven. What will we do without a rival!  A competition is not fun without opposition.

12.08.09: Michael Laws declares war on the Monarch

Sunday Star-Times columnist, Wangauni Mayor, ex-parliamentarian and all-round agitator, Michael Laws, has come out with guns blazing taking aim at the Tongan King, George Tupou V, over his decision to travel to Scotland the week his people mourned the loss of more than 90 people following a ferry disaster. At least 149 people were on board the interisland ferry when it capsized last Wednesday, 86km northeast of Nuku’alofa.

The New Zealand Herald reported: “The King left Tonga on Friday – while the death toll from Wednesday’s sinking was still climbing – for a highland fling that was to include a star turn at Edinburgh’s famous military tattoo, where he was to take the salute.
Michael Laws’ reaction, reported in the Sydney Morning Herald, was ferocious. He said the decision reflected the fact that Tonga’s royal family were “appalling, morbidly obese parasites” who were as uninterested in their own people as they were in bringing democracy to the island nation.
He goes further and states: “If the previous king of Tonga was a bloated, brown slug, this guy [King George Tupou V] makes his father look like a philanthropist.” Never one to shy away from controversy Laws has assumed the mantle of outrage despite Pesi Fonua, the editor of the Tonga’s national newspaper, Matangi Tonga, saying, “there had been ‘no issue’ with his departure.”

11.08.09: Where’s all the food gone?

The world’s sweet tooth will soon start to ache because of bad weather in two major sugar cane producers, which is creating a massive sugar shortage and driving the price to a 28-year high, the BBC reports.
What’s more, to add to the world’s food supply woes, new research from the East Malling Research centre in the UK paints a sorry picture for the future. “The world food production needs to double by 2050 to feed the world growing population,” Dr Chris Atkison states.  But within this timeframe some of the top producing agriculture countries are going to deal with the impact of climate change, reduced access to water and changing land use. “We need science and technology to [find] ways to double food production over the next 50 years in a way that is environmentally sound, Atkison said.
Perhaps while we wait for the great minds in science to find ways to address this small problem, we should get busy in the backyard and plant a vegetable garden. Anyone keen on potatoes or carrots?

10.08.09: Inclusion is the key

Following last week’s events in Melbourne, which unearthed a small network of young men harbouring terrorist ambitions, the outspoken Chief Commissioner of Victoria Police, Simon Overland, has called for Australians to look beyond stereotypes and consider the obstacles confronting the Somali community on a daily basis.  In a frank article, published this weekend in The Age, he iterates the concerns authorities have regarding public backlash to this tumultuous situation: “I understand that this week’s events have caused people to feel concern and even shock, none more so than in our Islamic and Somalia communities. Not only do they have to deal with their safety fears, more regrettable is that some people have jumped to the conclusion that all Somalis and Muslims have strong links with terrorism. This type of uninformed view must be totally rejected.”
He goes on to write: “ Islam is not the problem. Social isolation and disengagement stemming, from among other things, racism and negative stereotyping, is the real problem.”
Let’s hope people take note of these sage words. 

09.08.09: A missing child, a super yacht and an Aussie accent

As private detectives search the southern isles for clues to the whereabouts of Madeleine McCann, the cherubic English girl who went missing from her family’s rented holiday apartment in Praia da Luz on May 3, 2007, new satistics published in the Guardian today indicate almost 500 children were abducted from the UK in 2008 alone.
This begs the question as to why the case of Madeleine McCain has garnered such enormous international media coverage.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Private detectives are hoping to interview the widow and daughter of Australian property tycoon Bill Wyllie amid claims their yacht may be involved in the British girl’s disappearance as it was spotted moored in Barcelona, Spain, three days after Madeleine disappeared from a holiday resort in Portugal in May 2007.
About the same time, a woman aged in her 30s with “an Australian or New Zealand accent” reportedly asked a British businessman at the marina if he was there to “deliver my new daughter”. 
And so the search continues with the media hot on the trail.

08.08.09: This one’s for the kids

Unfortunately many New Zealand children are faced with the heart-wrenching grind of poverty on a daily basis. 

KidsCan StandTall Charitable Trust is a national charity dedicated to ensuring all Kiwi kids affected by poverty can look forward to a brighter future. This year’s New Zealand Telethon The Big Night In is dedicated to raising funds for KidsCan StandTall Charitable Trust.  Screening live TONIGHT across New Zealand it promises to be a spectacular 23-hour entertainment event featuring sports stars, actors, comedians, musicians, community and cultural performers. 
Viewers can even vote to have their favourite celeb dumped in a massive pot of yoghurt.  Now that’s entertainment.

07.08.09: Waiting with anticipation

When Alice Sebold’s novel The Lovely Bones was released back in 2002, it quickly became a best seller thanks to the magical ‘Oprah’s Book Club’ sticker. Now, some seven years later, the much-beloved book has been embraced by Kiwi director Peter Jackson and slotted by Dreamworks in the key December time frame, fuelling rumors the film might be a potential 2010 Oscar vehicle. The trailer has been released this week to heighten the suspense for Jackson fans and it’s worth a sneak-peak. Watch here on the on the NZ Herald website.

06.08.09: Putin gets his gear off, again.

Why does Russia’s Prime Minister Vladimir Putin continue to stage photo ops for the national press with his top off?
Remember the fishing expedition? Now he’s been snapped riding horseback “through rugged terrain during a holiday in the Siberian region of Tuva”. The Australian made light of the images writing: “The photos will trigger mass swooning by women all over Russia, as well as unfavourable comparisons of their husbands with Mr Putin’s manly physique. And they will confirm the Russian PM’s status as a gay icon.”
It sounds as though Putin will have at least two voter demographics on his side if, as commentators are predicting, he decides to run for president again in 2012!

05.08.09: Leave the politicking to those who know best
A few weeks ago MiNDFOOD reported on Keisha Castle Hughes’ journey to the Cook Islands with Greenpeace.  The Whale Rider star has been devoting her time to raise awareness about the affects of climate change on the South Pacific. 
Such an endeavour is not a new thing. Celebs have been advocating for various causes for decades.  Sienna Miller lent her name to the International Medicine Corps working in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Scarlett Johansson toured India and Sri Lanka with Oxfam and Angelina Jolie continues to visit the world’s war-torn nations as a UN Goodwill Ambassador.  What’s more, Bono’s plight to encourage the world’s wealthiest nations to commit funds to combat the Aids crisis and global poverty means he has the ear of the most powerful leaders. Most celebrities don’t profess to know the solution for the issues they are advocating and thus politicians seem to tolerate their minor contributions.  Other than New Zealand’s Prime Minister John Key, that is.
Speaking to an audience of 500 business people in Brisbane yesterday the PM, according to the NZ Herald, asked if the audience had heard of Castle-Hughes before mentioning her role in Whale Rider and her work for Greenpeace’s Sign On campaign – which is seeking a 40 per cent reduction in emissions by 2020.  He went on to comment in regard to her environmental campaigning: “My advice to Keisha is this: Stick to acting.”
We are left wondering why the PM takes such issue with a young woman having an interest in the environment?
What do you think? Should celebrities ‘stick to what they know’ and leave the politicking to the likes of John Key?

Part two:
To add another name to the aforementioned list of celebs, US indy-rock band Modest Mouse released overnight the Heath Ledger-directed animated video for their song King Rat. The video is a rather graphic (be warned) parody of the whale hunting (officially sanctioned as scientific research by the IWC) which takes place annually around Antarctica. 

Reader comment:
“That is such a shame… one would have thought that any PM would be interested to hear what the citizens of his country can do to help achieve its goals for the reduction of carbon emissions by 2020!”
– Angela Llauder

04.08.09: Enough with the airbrush!

UK Vogue’s Editor Alexandria Shuman turned on her own industry when she decried the practice of designers using models with ““jutting bones and no breasts or hips”, further claming in the Times that Vogue frequently retouched photographs to make models look larger.
Now, advertisers across Britain are being urged to stop airbrushing pictures of celebrities to help teenagers feel happier about their own looks. The Liberal Democrats MPs have warned advertisers that the use of altered images, particularly in promotional material aimed at young girls such as movie posters, puts unnecessary pressure on teens.  They’ve called for an all-out ban on altered images in campaigns targeting this demographic.
Quoted in the Independent, Lib Dem frontbencher Jo Swinson said: “Today’s unrealistic idea of what is beautiful means that young girls are under more pressure now than they were even five years ago. Airbrushing means that adverts contain completely unattainable perfect images no one can live up to in real life.
It’s not just your average celebs getting the airbrush treatment either, according to the Independent: “Kate Winslet’s famous curves have been trimmed for a front cover and Keira Knightley’s bust enlarged for a film poster. Madonna’s biceps have been reduced for a magazine portrait, while veteran model Twiggy’s wrinkles vanished in an advertisement for anti-ageing cream.”  It seems no one’s safe in the art department.

03.08.09: “Sir Sam” considered far too grand
New Zealand can now boast an additional 72 titled citizens following National’s decision to reinstate the old honours system Labour government. Of the 85 people singled out for distinguished work since 2000, 72 have accepted the Sir / Dame title. In the New Zealand Herald Prime Minister John Key stated: “This is a real celebration of success and I am very pleased that 87 per cent of those eligible for a title thought so as well.”
Those who declined the title include a handful of the country’s most distinguished arts figures, such as writers Patricia Grace, Witi Ihimaera and Vincent O’Sullivan, and actor Sam Neill who commented in the Sydney Morning Herald the title was “too grand by far” and something of a “backward move”.


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