Monday, October 31

Greymouth to Christchurch

To day we travelled to Greymouth and then on to Christchurch on the Tranz Alpine train.

Greymouth is known for its coal mining, that became the "black gold" after gold mining returns dwindled. The journey by train was a steady climb through the wilderness to Arthurs Pass at over 700 metres and slowly down to the Canterberry plains. A memorable journey of 4.5 hours involving 16 tunnels, with spectacular scenery.

Whale Rider

Whilst staying in Franz Josef we watched a video entitled “Whale Rider”, based upon the novel by renowned Maori writer Witi Ibimaera. The film wren released won several awards. Click here to learn more about this remarkable writer.

Its a delightful tale of mysticism and Maori culture set in a small New Zealand coastal village, where the Maori claim descent from a Whale rider. The Maori tradition is the first born son of the chief succeeds to that rank as would his first born and so on. When twins are born and the boy twin dies prematurely the chief will not accept his granddaughter as a future leader. Tribal misfortunate are then attributed to his granddaughter, but despite the hostility, his granddaughter remains compassionate towards her grandfather, as she realizes she is confronted with 1,000 years of tradition.

The film is cotemporary story of love and tribal customs and ultimately the young girl’s courage triumphs as she rescues her tribe form a possible apocalyptic end, in a scene connected with the beaching of whales. The acting of the young girl is simply stunning and it’s a riveting tale.

Sunday, October 30

Maori Culture

It has been estimated the Maori's first came to New Zealand about 1,000 years ago. They would have visited in their giant ocean canoe's, and its not clear exactly where they came from, possibly somewhere in the Polynesian area, like Tahiti and or the Cook Islands, but thee would certainly have brought their rich culture with them. They quickly prospered and as these lands were previously uninhabited their principle source of food, the giant flightless bird called the Moa, was easy prey, and hunted to eventual extinction. The Mao stood over 9 feet and weighed 240Kg. The Moa inhabited the forest, so the Maori undertook extensive burning to drive out their quarry into the open for the hunters. Thus with a high protein diet Maori numbers expanded, mainly in the North Island, and to a less extent in the South Island.

They were fearsome warriors and wars broke out, mainly over territorial rights connected to the land. Later with the British there were wars that eventually led to the signing of the treaty of Waitangi, between the chiefs of New Zealand and the Queen of England. What it actually means remains unclear and it is the subject of on going negotiation.

Their culture is rich and they believe in a Earth Mother and Sky Father who bore a multitude of children who were confined to their parents bodies in total darkness.
Eventually the children rebelled and forced their parent's apart, creating a new "light" that subsequent generations enjoy. These first born children became the Gods of the Polynesians and one called "Tane" is the god of the Forest. The strength of Tane is embodied in the trees and they believed if too many trees were cut down that darkness would fall upon the Land.

The 2 original parents, the God of Earth and Sky show eternal love for all, evidenced by the tears of rain and dew of the sky god and the mists of the earth god. They lay to together in a timeless embrace of love.

Franz Joseph Glacier

Click on the photo to enlarge.

To day we are at Franz Josef. click here to view.
We travelled from Queenstown in a North Westerly direction, entering the region known as the Westland National Park, another World Heritage Listing area.

Currently we are staying in the township named after the Glacier. Behind us is a range of mountain peaks, including Mt Cook, the highest mountain in New Zealand at over 3000 metres. Consequently, within these conditions, a huge volume of snow is dumped on the upper slopes and the Franz Josef Glacier is one of 140 within the parkland. To day we went on a magnificent walk to view this mighty glacier. During the walk it was interesting to note just how far the glacier has retreated, attributed to global warming and despite minor advances from time to time with increased snow fall.

Friday, October 28

Te Anau Glowworm Caves

To day we traveled to Te Anau and then by boat to the Te Anau Glowworm caves.
Click here for a link.

Glowworms I think are native only to Australia and NZ, appearing like tiny strands of wire, the lenth of a matchstick, hanging from cave walls. A chemical reaction in their stomachs produces a light, becoming brighter as they become hungrier. Insects attracted to the light become their food.

You enter the cave by foot and then proceed for most of the journey by boat.

Your senses are completely overwhelmed, from pitch blackness and silence (no talking is permitted which would frighten the glowworms) to illumination revealing cathedrals and a roar from underground streams cascading down the rocky crevices beside you.

Its like entering a mysterious underground world of weird rock formations, waterfalls and illuminated cathedrals.

Thursday, October 27


Click on the photos to enlarge.

A view from our window of where we are continuing our stay in Queenstown and our hotel situated in Reese Street is named ater its Scottish founder who established sheep farming in 1860. Not long afterwards he was paid 10,000 pounds compensation for part acquisition of his land for gold exploration. Gold was discovered in the Shotover river in 1862, bringing thousands of men and some colorful women to converge on the settlement. The Shotover river is the second highest gold bearing river in history, second only to Klondike in Northern Canada. The River yielded 57.6 Kgs of gold per day in its early days.

Today we went on a long day trip to Milford Sound. Click here to view the area. The fiord at Milford was formed by a giant glacier over 1,000 metres in height that carved out its current day shape meeting up with the Tasman ocean. Its mode is one of teeming rain and high winds. Rainfall is 30 feet a year and winds can reach 160kmh but we were fortunate to experience a beautiful day and only temporary brisk winds of 40 knot's. The second picture is view from the boat.

Our journey to MIlford took in lush farming land, mainly sheep (there are 40 million NZ) and deer, ostrich and fishing. Like most areas NZ suffers from imported species and havoc is inflicted by Stoats (from the weasel family) and Possums.The Stoats devour the flightless birds and the possums rare vegetation.

Driving through the foirdland we encountered towering mountains and green remote valleys, a true wildnerness area.

Upon arrival at Milford we boarded our ship and on our cruise encountered penguins and seals sunning themselves on the rocky outcrops below the towering cliff faces of the snow clad mountains. The views along the way were stunning and those within the fiord breathtaking.

Tuesday, October 25

Dunedin to Queenstown

To day we set off from Dunedin to Queenstown traveling in a north westerly direction.

Our first stop for lunch was at the small township of Lawrence where gold was first discovered in 1861. The first settlers established large sheep runs but is wasn't until Gabriel Read made a gold discovery that the region blossomed and the township expanded temporarily to over 11,000.

As we journeyed on the scenery changed to reflect more arid features of rugged craggy barren mountain peaks.

It is of interest to learn during the gold maning boom, just as what happened in Australia around the same time, the country became a haven for Chinese immigrants escaping the "Opium Wars " and unrest of their homeland. However their arrival was not welcomed and they suffered at the hands of the local diggers despite only prospecting discarded pickings. Such was the hostility to the Chinese they were forced to erect shelters amongst the rocky outcrops and amongst the boulders so they were difficult to see and access.

We arrived in Queenstown and were immeadiately struck by its beauty, surrounded by the mountains with snow capped peaks and nestled on the shores of the mighty Lake Wakatpu.

Monday, October 24


Today at Dunedin we visited the Royal Albatross Centre -Click here for their website and Lanarch Castle-click for their website . The picture is of the Alatross nesting area high on the cliff tops. click on the photo to enlarge.

The Albatross Centre is managed by the local Conservation Dept who have undertaken 60 years of research, builing up a colony of 160 breeding birds. These magnificient birds can cruise at 140 kph and spend most of their time circumnavigating the globe, returning to their nesting grounds after reaching breeding maturity after 5 -7 years.The colony is unique as its only a few KM from the city centre. The birds are like humans, mating for life, but divorce at 10 years is not uncommon and causes ugly scenes.

We explored an area to day on the southern edge of the Harbour passing lush pastures, small bays, sandy beaches, rugged hills and volcanic landforms. Wildlife abounds with the Royal albatross, yellow eyed penguins, seals and wading birds.

Larnach castles is the only one of its type in NZ , commanding a beautiful view from its tower and set amongst dazzling native fauna.

Sunday, October 23

New Zealand Holiday

The harbour at Akaroa. -click on the photo to enlarge.
Anne standing in front of Wilderness House -click to enlarge
The view from Wilderness House. Click to enlarge.

Our first stay was at Akaroa which is situated 90 minutes from Christchurch on the South Island. Akaroa was the scene of the first settlement of the British who arrived just 5 days before the French. Both happily co existed together, making the settlement a flourishing fishing port. Many of the streets today have French names.

Like many similar developments the harbor was overfished and to date the 1,000 local residents rely on tourism. We stayed at a delightful "Bed and Breakfast" called "Wilderness House"click here to view and our hosts were great company and told us about the local history and attractions.The beakfasts were suberb.The pictures depict the beatiful harbour, and in front and looking down from Wilderness House.

We spent an enjoyable afternoon on the Harbor and encountered a school of dolphins, known as "Hector Dolphins" who are only native to the South Island. We also saw a colony of seals. Because of the large swell our "Skipper" would not venture out beyond the "Heads".

In the evening we had a super dinner at a French restaurant and on another occasion visited a little boutique movie theatre and enjoyed the equivalent of "gold class service".

To day we have traveled to Dunedin in the South East, taking the scenic route, which allowed us to view the snow capped mountains s and unusual river gorges.

Thursday, October 20

Land of The Great White Cloud

Holidaying in New Zealnd for a few weeks, a fabulous destination with some of the most spectacular scenery of anywhere in the World.

Click on New Zealand to visit their travel website.

Wednesday, October 19

Singing St Patricks Cathedral

Our Lady Help of Christians, Eltham celebrated the sacrament of Confirmation for the scholchildren and congratulations were extended to everyone participating in the Confirmation choir.

The Bishop thanked us, Fr Barry thanked us , the school thanked us , and it was a very uplifting experience for all.The photo shows the happy members of the choir in the Cathedral.

Sunday, October 16

Rachael's EP release

Rachael Byrnes presents - Behind the Mask....
As you may know Rachael is my musical daughter. She has just produced her first EP release Behind the Mask. If you would like to listen to a selection from this CD visit her website

Thursday, October 13

Free Spirit Flow

Mind was in search of a fragrant new start
Mind was rewarded by prose from warm heart
Mind now refreshed, its new spirit will find
Mind now healed will be it's past sign

Thoughts now explain it’s time to let go
Thoughts that allow your new spirit to grow
Thoughts to find room for your spirits new space
Thoughts now accept the challenges you face

Sweep through your day with your heavenly twin
Sweep through your day to your new daily spin
Sweep through your day and embrace your sweet heart
Sweep through your day like the worlds at your feet

Your mood is surprise, your changes were fast
Your mood please confirm is your freedom at last
You mood is surprise, for our world changes fast
Your mood I suspect is a free spirit at last

I don’t have the answers, just words for your ear
I think life is mystery, its meaning not clear
Can I sense your mood change that moment at last
Your mind is free from a hot wind of the past

A better way maybe is a slower way

Charles Kovess in his latest newsletter, which is reproduced below challenges us to think about finding a better way rather than staying in a rut, and being willing to venture out of our comfort zone. Others might argue if it isn’t broke, why try and fix it?

I think the better way is often masked by a reluctance to proceed at what seems at first to be the slowest possible route. By researching a problem and thinking about a future path, we can discover better ways to proceed, rather than rushing ahead with the first thoughts that comes to mind and simply repeating what we did the past.Imagine however the reaction from clients if we billed out chargeable hours under the headings of thinking time, research, planning a work path and actual hours spent doing the work. Yet it’s all work and the thinking, planning and research determine the quality of the final output.Coming up with uncosted or untested concepts is generally frowned upon in business, but concepts have led to some of the greatest changes ever seen in our world.

It’s interesting to reflect that Einstein’s theory of relativity was just a concept to him at first and he needed the help of his friend, more skilled in mathematics to undertake the detailed calculations that validated his brilliant theory.

I think a better way for organizations is to actively encourage new ideas and concepts and use others who are partners to the concepts but more skilled in the detailed costing. Currently theses roles are often seen as adversarial or a role of a policeman to ensure projects return desired returns. Ultimately however you can’t be certain of anything, and sometimes to grow you have to also allow for some mistakes.

Dear Lindsay

A Passion Point to Ponder 28 September 2005.
Welcome to the 9th Passion Point for 2005.
Our goal this year with these Passion Points is to provoke you so that your business, and the rest of your life, becomes filled with more passion, performance, and improved balance of mental, physical, and spiritual elements.



We are delighted to announce a move to new premises from Monday 3 October: 17 Notre Dame Parade, Mulgrave Vic 3170.
Our phone number changes to (03) 9562 2248, but of course mobile phone number does not change.

Our post office box also DOES NOT CHANGE, but remains as PO Box 1412 Central Park, East Malvern Vic 3145.

MAN'S INNER JOURNEY: A GREAT PROGRAMI attended a great weekend seminar entitled 'Man's Inner Journey' in July 2005. It's excellent. It's being repeated in Melbourne on 28 & 29 October. Details are below. "IS THERE AN EVEN BETTER WAY?" Glenn M Renwick, the Chief Executive of US insurerProgressive Corp. recently said "When you stop evolving, you've got a real problem." Wise words that apply to us, as well as corporations. The world challenges us to change, to evolve and become better than we are. Renwick added "We're always asking 'Is there an even better way?'" The answers led Progressive Corp. to the number 1 spot in the 2004 Business Week 50--a ranking of the best performing companies, based on a 10 part formula, in the Standard & Poors 500.

"Is there an even better way?" That question applies to us also. Sometimes we stick to old ways, not because they are best, but often because we arecomfortable with them. Comfort can be more than azone, it can also be an attitude.

The Business Week 50 tends to be a growth list that, generally, outperforms the market in growth periods, but lags when the market is in recession. Growth has many dimensions, but companies on the 2004 Business Week 50 list showed, not only a growth attitude and entrepreneurial spirit, but also a customer focus ahead of their rivals.Attitude, growth, spirit, customer focus, are allthings we can practise every day. "Is there an evenbetter way?" is a daily question we can all askourselves. Our answers and efforts might not take us to the top of any list but our own--and that's not a bad place to start.


"What is the most rigorous law of our being? Growth."Mark Twain (1835-1910), American author.

What law do you obey, the one of growth or slow decay?"Growth is the only evidence of life." John HenryNewman (1801-1890), English Cardinal.

What lives most throughout your day, a self that grows or goes away?

To your ongoing development of your passionate performance.
Charles Kovess Australia's Passion Provocateur © Copyright- Charles B. Kovess & David J. Wood of Passionate Performance. Republication welcome provided authors are acknowledged & advised at above address. If you want to see Charles on video, or listen to audio, just go to and follow the links for a list of keynote speech topics that Charles would love to deliver in a passionate, entertaining, provocative, and educational way to your teams, clients, or prospects, at breakfast, lunch or dinner, see below.

All 135 published Passion Points to Ponder are on our website. If you wish to review them, please visit the site. If you wish to receive a list of the 135 titles of the Passion Points please let us know.

MAN'S INNER JOURNEYFor Men: How often do you invest in YOU?Commence the journey from your head, to your heart. Discover the tools to improve the way your life works! The Man's Inner Journey Seminar is designed specifically for Men. The workshop offers you a practical blend of information and experience for you to develop insights into the beliefs, attitudes, influences and patterns ofbehaviour that impact (positively and/or negatively) on the quality of your life outcomes. The workshop offers you the tools to change and develop.

The next Man's Inner Journey workshop is on October 29/30 9AM-6PM in Melbourne.For more information visit the website


Friday, October 7

Whispering Spheres

Click here to listen to my daughter's song by the same title featuring my poem

As the sunset rays cast their fading light
Birds fly past to rest for the night
Night air cools as the sky is at dusk
Farwell to our toils time for our rest

Whispering spheres of a neo light form
Spiritual heavens in explosion and storm
Peace is that energy a dream for your mind
Peace and rest for a mind of that kind

The moon beams alight and rest on our skin
Heavenly spheres, our heavenly next of kin
whispers of hope to enter your mind
Refresh and to heal for all humankind

Whispering spheres of a neo light form
Spiritual heavens in explosion and storm
Peace is that energy a dream for your mind
Peace and rest for a mind of that kind

A universe reveals each night its rebirth
New stars are born, death is new light
Time and space are our one universe
Continues forever its beginning in light

Whispering spheres of a neo light form
Spiritual heavens in explosion and storm
Peace is that energy a dream for your mind
Peace and rest for a mind of that kind

Dawn approaches a light of daybreak
Birds fly in and herald the day
Sweet note refreshed to sing of a new way
Awaken a mind, open thinking to day

Whispering spheres of a neo light form
Spiritual heavens rebirth every night
Peace is the light of the dream of your mind
Refreshed and ready to heal for humankind

Wednesday, October 5

Sydney Swans- Aussie Rules Premiers 2005

Although the Sydney Swans are thought of as a Sydney based team they evolved from the the original South Melbourne Club in Melbourne. Hence their recent premiership win was a celebration both for Melbourne and Sydney.

South Melbourne last won the preniership way back in 1933. Since 1987 the Sydney Swans have been sponsored by QBE Insurance. If you would like to visit their website click here on Sydney Swans or the icon next to the photo or the link at the end of the posting.

The photo shows some of the Sydney QBE employees celebrating the win. Click on the image to enlarge.

Can Melbourne also put their hands on the Cup ?.

Monday, October 3

Sustainability Reporting

I refer to my earlier posting on sustainability included in my article on ethics and I have noticed companies are becoming increasingly aware of the need to comment on sustainability not only from their company viewpont but also in relation to their responsibilty to the global enviroment.

Click on the blue print to read the BHP Report as it is particually comprehensive.

I have just finished reading many of the Annual Reports of Australian Public companies and I have noticed that many are keen to indicate a comprehensive enviromental review for their operations which entails being responsible for their own actions and accountable for their choices.
The Reports on the whole are barely recognisable from that produced of a few years prior and represent a big improvement.

Research on the question of sustainability reporting is underway as per my previous posting click on sustainability.