Vol 3 Issue 5, Spring 2012
Active living in later life
longer life Six tips for a
CHICKEN AND EGG: Free range, caged, and organic,
What is the secret to a
long marriage? GUITAR HERO: Chatting with Peter Posa
Love or money?
Working after retirement
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Justine’s life has been heartbreaking. As a baby her feet were amputated. When she was very young her mother died and her father became too poor to afford the artificial feet Justine needs as she grows. Justine was reduced to hobbling about with old sandals strapped to her knees. Other children never stopped teasing her, so every day was filled with loneliness, rejection and humiliation for Justine. Visit our website and witness the moment when all that misery turned around.
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The team Editor-in-chief: Shane Cummings Advertising: Belle Hanrahan Production manager: Barbara la Grange General manager/publisher: (APN Educational Media) Bronwen Wilkins Writers: Leigh Bramwell, Alan Clarke, Jim Eyers, Peter Gooding, Dr Joe Kosterich, Eva-Maria Salikhova, Eion Scarrow, Alex Staines, Loas Toung, Trevor Wilson Stock images: Thinkstock Phone 04 471 1600 Fax 04 471 1080 Web www.apn-ed.co.nz/ page/best-of-times.aspx
Published by APN Educational Media, a division of APN National Publishing NZ Limited. Level 1, Saatchi & Saatchi Building, 101-103 Courtenay Place, PO Box 200, Wellington ISSN: 1179-3252 Copyright © 2012. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be copied or reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording or otherwise without the prior written permission of the publisher. Errors and omissions Whilst the publishers have attempted to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information contained in this publication, no responsibility can be accepted by the publishers for any errors or omissions. Terms and conditions 1. E ntry into our competitions confirms your acceptance of our terms and conditions. 2. E ntry is open to New Zealand residents only. 3. Best of Times takes no responsibility for lost, stolen, misdirected or incomplete entries. The publisher’s decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into. 4. By accepting this prize the winner consents to the publisher using his/her details for promotional use. 5. The prize is not transferable or redeemable for cash. 6. All entries become the property of the publisher.
2 Desk duty – villager stories, RVA choral festival, and dealing with grief
5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14
Relationships – Love for a lifetime Grandparenting – Quick tips for grandparents Gardening – In the kitchen with the kids Food – The chicken and the egg Healthy living – Six tips for a longer life Retirement living – Just the job Travel – Taking Liberty Interview – Guitar hero: Peter Posa Finance – Are bonds a safe haven? Giveaways and fun
From the editor Spring is a time of renewal – gardens bloom, houses are cleaned, wardrobes are replenished, and we all revel in the sunshine that we missed over the past few months of winter. It is also a time of renewal here at Best of Times. Our former editor Alex Staines has moved on to greener pastures, and I have stepped in to fill his editorial shoes. Alex gave Best of Times a real nostalgic feel. However, in exploring the past, I think Best of Times missed opportunities to embrace the present and look to the future. Of course, we’ll continue to look to favourites from yesterday, but to redress the balance, in this issue, we discuss hot topics like the hype behind free range chicken, talk to retirees who have returned to work through necessity or desire, and explore the secrets to a lifelong marriage. Naturally, we’ll continue to bring you the latest word on active living in later life, finance, gardening, village life, and much, much more! As Editor-in-chief of all of APN’s education and health and wellbeing titles (which includes magazines for aged care workers, nurses, school leavers, teachers, and of course, Best of Times), I can honestly say I’m most excited about working on Best of Times because it is a different type of magazine. Our other publications reach sectors, not people. A magazine is a two-way street. Our readers dictate what we say and how we say it as much – if not more – than our writers. I hope the stories in this issue entertain, inform, and inspire, and if they do, I’d love to hear your thoughts! Let the spring bloom! – Regards, Shane Cummings (email@example.com)
Become a columnist for Best of Times Best of Times magazine, which is circulated to every resident in RVA-member retirement villages across New Zealand, is interested in ‘villager’ columnists. If you are a village resident with a background of expertise in careers advice, medicine, finance, sport, the arts, or similar, and you would like to write an occasional ‘expert’ column in Best of Times to benefit the readers, then please get in touch with the editor by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or by writing to him at Editor, Best of Times, APN Educational Media, PO Box 200, Wellington 6140. Vol 3 Issue 5 Spring 2012 1
TREVOR WILSON from Althorp Village, Tauranga, fills us in on what makes his village so great after ten amazing years.
arlier in 2012, Althorp Village’s dining room/lounge was packed to capacity for a special anniversary dinner to celebrate the Tauranga retirement village’s tenth birthday. Present were most of the residents, the owners, and representatives of the developer, the builder, and Althorp Private Hospital. When partners Jane and David Church and Joanne and Talbot
Musings of a
By all accounts, 93-year-old LOAS TOUNG is a terror on a scooter, but we mean that in the nicest possible way. Here’s a typical day for her. I really love to joyride on my JOYRIDE scooter (terrible pun, I know). Most afternoons, I sally forth down Aberfeldy Road on my way to the Bamboo Gardens at Highland Park for my daily coffee fix. I have been going to that coffee shop for years. It is like a home away from home, and it’s the only café I know that the staff will hug and kiss one. The food is good, too. Sometimes, I’m given a free sample of a new biscuit or cake to taste and comment on. Anyway, back to my riding – on my way, I note any new work being done on the houses, signalling new owners/ tenants. Sometimes, I see the ginger cat waiting in his driveway. I stop and speak cat language to him. He stares into the distance, totally ignoring me. Perhaps it is infra dig to speak cat language to a cat? Perhaps the accent’s not right? 2 Best of Times
Munro purchased a kiwifruit orchard (that they named Althorp Orchard) between Pyes Pa Road and Cheyne Road in Tauranga, they realised that they were the owners of land that would eventually be swallowed up in urban development, so they began to plan for the future. Their deliberations were hastened somewhat when a Tauranga developer, John Ward, approached them. John had a client looking for a site for a new private hospital and suggested that the partners sell a small portion of their land for this purpose. The partners were reluctant to part with their land piecemeal and made a counter offer that they would build the hospital, which John’s client could lease. This was agreed to and a modern, state-ofthe-art, geriatric hospital was soon built. Then came the problem of what to do with the rest of the land, and the idea of a lifestyle retirement village was discussed. Naturally, such a breathtaking, multi-million dollar project was a daunting venture, but following diligent research, the partners set out to create a village, not only with a unique lifestyle, but with an atmosphere and character that would provide an enjoyable environment for elderly people in their twilight years. After the kiwifruit vines were cleared, the first residents took possession of a modern villa in March 2002. Progress was slow for the next few months, and the owners must have had some serious doubts that they had bitten off a bit too much of the cherry (or kiwifruit, in this case). Certainly, with no facilities whatsoever, attracting more residents was a hard sell. But suddenly, more locals, and even folk from further afield, saw the potential, and for several years, Althorp suddenly became the scene of much activity, with new streets being formed and villas being snapped up like there was no tomorrow. With this surge in development came facilities. The Pavilion, a meeting centre, was quickly followed by games facilities, a heated indoor swimming pool, and a full-size bowling green. The vibrant young village was on its way. A huge stage was reached with the building of The Lodge, incorporating apartments, reception area, a commercial kitchen, lounge/dining room, library, theatre, offices, and a board room. Now, ten years later, the village population is close to 200 and still growing as the last few villas are being erected.
A few days ago, I saw two men with a tripod, so of course, I stopped to enquire what they were doing. They said they are surveying all the properties for waste water. It is interesting to pick up little snippets of information
along the way. Recently, I came across two elderly Indian gentlemen sitting on the grass by the dental centre. They had a blanket spread out and were happily playing cards. Naturally, I stopped and passed the time of day with them. When I asked who was winning, they both replied, “I am.” I am often stopped and asked for details about the scooter and the sign on the front, which reads Old girl on board, is a good conversation starter. When I meet any Asian walkers on the way, I greet them in Chinese, to which they reply with smiles. Sometimes, we even stop for a small conversation. I think a lot of the elderly people are quite lonely and are pleased to be acknowledged. Of course,
I often meet village residents and stop for a chat, so sometimes the short trip to Highland Park takes longer. A funny thing happened when I was getting ready to ride away from Countdown a week or so ago. A little elderly man wearing a peaked cap approached me and asked a lot of questions about the scooter, imparting a lot of his life story (yawn). When he finally finished, he looked at me myopically and remarked, “You must have been quite good looking when you were young.” When he saw my raised eyebrows, he did a quick backtrack, and said, “Of course, you still are.” I giggled as I went on my way. Yes, I love my scooter – it brings me much joy. A royal apology One Best of Times reader called our office to complain about our use of the nickname ‘Liz’ when referring to Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II in the story Happy Anniversary, Liz and Chas. We apologise if the monarch’s moniker caused offence to our royalist readers.
The joys of
village life choral festival
As a somewhat recent convert to retirement village living, JIM EYERS has become an advocate for the advantages of the village lifestyle.
s a reader of the Autumn issue of Best of Times, I was sufficiently impressed by your many references to crafts and hobbies still enjoyed by practitioners after moving to residency in a retirement village to respond to your invitation to submit an article. Having dealt with the many surprised negative reactions to our coming to Summerset in the River City, Wanganui, we are now confirming and illustrating to the many sceptics the wisdom of our choice. The business of our previous hectic life, fired by activity in music and community service has only slightly diminished. My wife, Audrey, still plays the organ for services at St James’ Presbyterian Church. She also plays the piano for junior ballet for the Shirley McDouall Ballet School. Add to this the many funerals she is asked to play for, and you see her calendar is well booked up! Her special talent is as an accompanist, having played for soloists at brass band championships in all the main cities and in Rockhampton, Australia. In 1966, Audrey was an accompanist for the Royal Command Concert for the Queen Mother in Wanganui. With several other Summerset residents, we both enjoy the membership and activity of the Matarawa Probus Club. As a Rotarian, I am a Paul Harris Fellow. We enjoy attending Operatunity Concerts, and many other musical events. Having been in the National Band of New Zealand in 1953, the National Youth Band as a conductor in 1977, the National Maori Brass, as a sesquicentennial year event in 1990, followed by foundation membership of the National Male Choir of New Zealand as a Millennium event of 2000, when I was a guest artist playing euphonium solos on their tour of Wales, these events culminated in a Queen’s Service Medal award in 2010. I especially enjoyed my sessions conducting Wanganui Male Choir in the 80s and 90s, followed by leading Wanganui Lyric Singers. A recent venture was to sing in the Rugby World Cup anthem choir for three games in Palmerston North. My choral activity continues here at Summerset with a 20-voice mixed choir led by resident Val Johnstone. Residency here has not stopped my driving for Meals on Wheels twice each month, with several villas at Summerset being on my run.To show how helpful and encouraging Summerset has been in supporting residents’ hobbies and interests, I have been able to continue my cottage industry practice of upholstery.The car stays outside and the garage is my studio for domestic upholstery repairs and service. Curtains, mending grandchildren’s shoes and bags, recovering, loose covers, repairs – anything which goes under a sewing machine can be, and is, handled. One of the most satisfying aspects of this service is seeing the pleasure enjoyed by clients when a restored item is taken home. Each Tuesday, I spend time at Wanganui Men’s Shed, where we have an upholstery department for members’ use, as well as a commercial service. I trust this will convince any retiree to consider the wonderful advantages offered to senior citizens of residency in a village such as ours, Summerset in the River City.
Sharpen up those vocal chords! RVA and Bay Audiology are inviting retirement village choirs to compete in a new Festival next year.
In fantastic news for the many retirement villages that host a choir, the Retirement Village Association (RVA) and major sponsor Bay Audiology recently announced the Bay Audiology Retirement Villages Choral Festival. The Festival is planned for September 2013, and 30 village choirs will be selected to attend – and compete at – the event in Wellington. The announcement of the Festival was made at the recent RVA conference at Wellington’s Te Papa, accompanied by a performance by a choir directed by Professor Peter Godfrey, a respected member of New Zealand’s choral community and a resident in a Kapiti Coast retirement village. “Retirement villages are home for some 23,000 active, independent older New Zealanders,” said RVA’s Executive Director, John Collyns. “Around 40 per cent [of villages] have a choir, and they are reaping the extensive health benefits choral singing brings. With Bay Audiology’s generous support, we want to extend those benefits to as many of our member villages as possible, and a Festival is the perfect way to achieve this.” Organisers hope to attract as many retirement village choirs as possible to the festival to compete for the inaugural title of Best Retirement Village Choir. The RVA says the Festival “celebrates age, the joy of music-making and choral excellence. It will also provide an incentive for retirement village residents to form choirs and get the considerable health benefits singing brings”. If more than 30 choir entries are received for the Festival, auditioning will be necessary. Village choirs have nine months to literally get their act together before the planned sing-off in May 2013. From there, the initial 30 choirs will be whittled down to six finalists. The finalists will perform a second time in Wellington to decide a winner. Dr Julie Jackson-Gough has been appointed as the Festival’s musical director. Dr Jackson-Gough has worked with choirs for over 40 years and has directed several Hamilton-based retirement village choirs for the last six years. “Singing makes people happy,” said Dr Jackson-Gough. “Singing works on breathing (capacity, oxygenation, and breath control), posture, right/left brain function, improves the body’s immune systems, and encourages the flow of endorphins. After practice, my retirement village choristers tell me they feel as if they’ve had a work-out, describing it as a tonic. Choral singing brings improved vocal technique, which is linked to better health and personal pride in what they’ve achieved.” “We are also working with the New Zealand Young@Heart Chorus and hope that they’ll be involved in the Festival, too, thereby increasing its appeal to as many people as possible,” John Collyns said. Entry information is available through contacting the RVA. Vol 3 Issue 5 Spring 2012 3
As we pass into the winter of our lives, we inevitably lose lifelong partners and loved ones. Here, one retirement village resident* shares the mechanics of his loss in the hope of inspiring others.
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4 Best of Times
GRIEF! – my dictionary defines it as ‘deep sorrow’. From personal experience in recent times of losing my wife after well over fifty years of marriage, it sounds correct. Most people are confronted by grief at some time in their lives. How do we successfully handle the situation while trying to live a normal life? It appears to me there are four options: 1. To do away with yourself. 2. To isolate yourself and cry frequently. 3. To attempt to carry on as if nothing had happened. 4. To determine some goals and go for them. The loss of a loved one, with whom one shared everything – we discussed everything, supported one another, and shared affection – after so many years raises many issues in one’s thoughts. For me, Option 1 was not really a consideration being the sort of person who had rarely ever backed away from a challenge. Option 2, which seemed to me to be a case of isolating oneself in self-pity, had no appeal. However, I admit to having times when I become upset and tearful, finding it difficult to handle when in the company of strangers. Being confronted by the recurrence of events we both participated in – e.g. photographs, certain meals, buildings, etc. – can often disengage my control of emotions. Option 3 would probably require a complete disregard of feelings, which I could not undertake. Option 4 requires goals, aims, and objectives that have to be realistic and achievable in relation to one’s age, health, and mental ability. I have found that any weakness in my health has been where the pressure of grief has manifested itself. Professional counsellors can offer guidance, but it is the individual who determines the outcome often through strength of character. I have been fortunate in having a family doctor who is interested in me as a person and cares. Also, a social worker has ‘gone the extra mile’ for me. This combination has been of immense help, providing reassurance to try new areas of interest. Living on one’s own for the first time for many decades at an advanced age does not make it easy to meet new arrangements – perhaps because I have become set in my ways over the years? Loneliness is the main problem I experience, especially in the winter evenings when there is little attraction to venture out into the cold weather. One of the best evaluations of this type of situation has been very well summarised by Pippa Blake, wife of Sir Peter Blake, who was killed in Brazil in 2001, in her book Pippa Blake Adventure. Written ten years after Peter’s death, she describes how in the years following his death, she was an emotional mess, so she decided she had to do something positive. In 2004, she commenced full-time postgraduate art studies, which she completed, and she has since become a successful painter. This achievement has gifted her with a fulfilling life. If serious grief is a regular situation in life, how do people handle it? Maybe follow Pippa Blake’s lead by identifying a personal goal and going for it. Discussion with some friends and acquaintances who have had similar experiences tells me that time does overcome the emotional feelings, whereas others tell me they have never fully recovered. From a personal aspect, I can report that my wife and I lived in a retirement village. The management and staff have been totally supportive, along with my family, which has seen me over the early stages of despair. They are continuing to support me as I attempt option 4. I am now looking for and being involved in new interests in the wider community. Will I succeed? Who can say? I still grieve, and at times, I am brittle. I am learning to handle it with the understanding and encouragement of others, but I am only part of the way down the track and hope that I do not get lost. *Name and address supplied.
for a lifetime
Envious of those couples who have been together fifty or sixty years and are still smiling? With a bit of help, you could be among them. LEIGH BRAMWELL delves into the secrets of what makes a marriage last.
When you’re in your fifties or beyond, with two or even three marriages behind you, it’s not that hard to put your finger on why it all went wrong. What’s much harder is putting your finger on what makes marriages last. Obviously, there are times when you’ve simply chosen the wrong person and nothing is going to make it right, but more often than not, it is possible to employ strategies that will strengthen a relationship and help you hang in there for better or worse. New Zealand market research company UMR has conducted social research into what Kiwis consider important in their marriages. Of those surveyed, 92 per cent considered faithfulness ‘very important’, 67 per cent listed a happy sexual relationship, and 62 per cent
how he or she will vote next election, what’s frightening about the phone ringing late at night, or why running a marathon is really important. Information like this helps you to recognise and address stresses and changes and to make plans that take both of you into account. It’s also important to respond positively to your partner when they invite your attention, whether it’s making casual chit-chat, asking for help, or inviting your opinion.What you both need to be doing is signalling your interest and willingness to be connected. A hard one for many is to let yourself be influenced by your partner. Sharing power and decision making between the partners in a relationship is crucial. Gottman’s research
“One of the most important principles is about knowing what matters to your partner – how long the tea should be brewed, how he or she will vote next election, what’s frightening about the phone ringing late at night, or why running a marathon is really important.” listed sharing household chores. For just over half, good housing was an important factor, and just under half put adequate income in the ‘very important’ column. Children and shared interests were also up there. However, work done by psychologists and marriage counsellors indicate there’s far more to it than that, and the book The Seven Principles of Making Marriage Work, written by clinical psychologist and marriage researcher John Gottman PhD, is widely quoted as a ground-breaking text. The book is based on the idea that couples can deliberately act in ways that keep the scales tipped in favour of the good feelings they have about each other.The big store of positive experiences offsets the times when their feelings about each other are negative. One of the most important principles is about knowing what matters to your partner – how long the tea should be brewed,
shows that more men than women struggle with this and that there’s a scary 81 per cent chance of relationship collapse when a man cannot accept his partner’s influence. Solving problems, Gottman’s book says, is about good will, empathy, and good listening. Some people find that mix difficult, especially in the heat of disagreement, but the deal is to forget about winning and try to find an answer you can both live with. When that doesn’t work, overcoming gridlock is the name of the game. You may not be able to solve the problem but you can solve the fight you keep having by figuring out how to live with your differing positions. A little closer to home, Christchurch-based Jeff Saunders, a couples, marriage, and family counsellor and therapist for twenty-five years, has his own pointers to a happy relationship. Jeff completed a Masters in Guidance Continued on page 6 >>
Fifty-two years and counting
As a young man, Bill McLean had a goal. He wanted to reach 60 years of age and be happy. Now at nearly 80, he’s well and truly achieved that and says it’s largely due to 52 years of married life. “My father died at 60, and so my aim was to reach that age and be happy in a good life. Here I am at almost 80 with those things and a lot of that is due to my wife, Pat,” he says. The couple met at a tennis club in Hamilton (both held Waikato titles) and were married there in 1960. These days, they live at Whitford, where Pat, 73, teaches riding and works as a therapist for horses. Bill retired about a decade ago and now helps his wife while maintaining their property. Laughter, work, fitness, family, leisure activities, positivity, and the spirit of compromise are on their list of top tips for a successful marriage, and they certainly walk the talk. Bill does aerobics twice a week, while Pat rides (“just the quiet horses now”), walks, cycles, does Tai Chi, and copes with a very busy working schedule.
Out of the mouths of babes When it comes to talking about how things should be, nobody says it as clearly as a child. “You got to find somebody who likes the same stuff. Like, if you like sports, she should like it that you like sports, and she should keep the chips and dip coming.” – Alan, age 10. “Dates are for having fun, and people should use them to get to know each other. Even boys have something to say if you listen long enough.” – Lynette, 8. “Tell your wife that she looks pretty, even if she looks like a dump truck.” – Ricky, age 10. Vol 3 Issue 5 Spring 2012 5
<< Continued from page 5
Counselling in the early 1990s, is also qualified in psychotherapy and hypnotism, and is a master practitioner in neuro-linguistic Relationship programming. He expert Jeff writes extensively on Saunders marriage and many useful articles are available on his website. He suggests noting your style of coping whenever there’s conflict. “Do you harangue and follow your partner around the house? Do you withdraw and try to avoid the conflict? Do you close down emotionally and avoid speaking? Do you erupt into an angry outburst or even a violent one (verbally, emotionally, or physically)?” None of these very common patterns are supportive of a relationship and must be explored and understood before new strategies are developed to cope with stressful encounters, he says. “Most arguments arise because of mismatches in needs, values, or personality preferences. Any mismatch can be worked through, but only if you learn of your unmet needs, core values, and personality tendencies and preferences in other people.” He also counsels that your relationship offers you a perfect opportunity to enjoy someone who is different. However, if you find yourself disagreeing with the person who was once enjoyable because they were different, then basically, you are trying to get them to convert to being a clone of you. Notice the absurdity of this situation and be committed to accepting others just as they are.
www.couplescounselling4u.co.nz www.relationshipsaotearoa.org.nz www.gottman.com
Quick tips for grandparents
EVA-MARIA SALIKHOVA shares a few of her ideas for raising teenage grandchildren. 1. Play it as simply as you can. No fancy parenting shenanigans from books needed. “I love you” is all it takes to make a screaming, yelling teen think about the impact of their actions and tone of voice on you. 2. Get them involved in your world. My grandma taught me how to apply eyeliner in one stroke – a simple trick she knew, but I swear, it still amazes my girlfriends even to this day. Among other things, I really loved her teaching me how to knit and paint, and especially how to feed an entire army from leftovers in the fridge. That was super cool. 3. Share your stories. Hearing ‘back in the day’ stuff just has a really cool effect – we feel a bit more grateful about today’s world and a bit more sympathetic and open to the world our grandparents experienced. I love it when my grandparents talk about the war and their parents. It’s so awesome.
The kind of world we leave behind depends on what we do today. A bequest to UNICEF is a powerful way to touch the future. It honours your memory, perpetuates your ideals and serves children for generations to come. Bequest funds to UNICEF give vital medicines and vaccines for young lives, work to keep them safe from exploitation and educate them for a worthwhile future.
Your bequest will play a key role in creating change, protecting children from abuse and ensuring their rights are respected. Your bequest can be an enduring legacy if placed with the UNICEF Children’s Foundation. For more information please phone: John Daysh, Legacy Advisor Ph 04 815 9370
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6 Best of Times
© UNICEF HQ07-0394 Giacomo Pirozzi
4. Don’t feel discouraged – feel encouraged. You have a lot to teach us, and we may forget it ... sometimes because we don’t have much time to hear you out. Share as much as you can – whenever there’s a dinner, a second of silence, anything – we need to keep learning from you, even if we don’t admit it. The only way we can move ahead is if we’re educated enough about the past to repeat the good things and avoid the mistakes. We appreciate and want to learn from you, even if you don’t know what Twitter is.
Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Trust
Diane Vivian set up the Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Trust in New Zealand after pinpointing the great demand and need for extra support for grandparents who are raising grandchildren on their own, due to family difficulties and other issues. An admirable initiative, this is the place to be for grandparents raising grandchildren, or even for grandparents to simply find support among others like them to bring the bright, loved, and caring individuals within our children into the world. I strongly suggest you look it up, and add your support, kind words, or even join with this great community. Visit: www.grg.org.nz – by Eva-Maria Salikhova, author, international speaker, and certified coach, who published the first-ever parenting book written by a teenager – You Shut Up – in 2007. Born in 1990 in Akademgorodok in Siberia, Eva Maria is a graduate of Athena Montessori College in Wellington. Eva-Maria’s mission is to help improve 10 million adult-teenager relationships around the world. Her latest book Shush,You! talks about how anyone can achieve a harmonious relationship with a teenager in just five minutes a day – check it out at www.shushyou.com
In the kitchen with the
Having the grandkids around is always a pleasure, but coming up with fun interactive activities can be a challenge. Garden guru EION SCARROW has a solution, written specifically for your grandkids (hint: pass the magazine to them). Growing things is easy. So easy that sometimes you can’t stop things growing when you want to. Have you ever found a potato or an onion sprouting away when it was accidentally left too long in the vegetable box? To find out just how easy growing is, why not start in the kitchen?
Carrots and parsnips or turnips.
Here’s the nearest thing to instant gardening! You can use a carrot, parsnip, or turnip. Simply slice off the top (you need about 10mm) and stand it in a saucer with a small piece of kitchen towel folded over several times with enough water to cover the bottom part, in a nice light spot. Unlike human beings, most plants die if they don’t get lots of daylight. The water shouldn’t cover the carrot-top but should simply keep the bottom part moist. Add more water when it begins to dry up. If the weather isn’t cold, within a few days, you should see Iittle shoots starting, and after a week or two, you could get the beginnings of a lovely plume of feathery leaves 150– 200mm tall. Grandparents: Roots will appear. Carrots are one of the prettiest plants to grow like this, yet all they need is light, a little warmth, and water. There’s another way to grow a carrot or parsnip – upside down. This time, you need a 50mm piece from the top of a big carrot. Scoop out 30mm of the core from the cut end with a sharp little knife or point of a potatopeeler, taking care not to pierce the top. Then stick a toothpick through both sides, near the cut end, and ask Dad to make this little stand* to hold your new plant or use
this to hang it up on a piece of string like a little basket. *The stand is made from any old timber. The base is 120 x 90mm and the uprights are 180 x 10 x 10mm. Just attach the uprights with small nails plus some quick drying glue. Drill a hole in each leg 30mm down from the top to take the toothpicks. Keep the hole filled with water daily. The feathery leaves will start to sprout from the bottom and then grow upwards. Remember that the carrot must hang in a light place (which room in your house gets most daylight?) and don’t forget to top up the water every day. Instead of just water, you could even fill the hole with moist potting mix and grow a seed or two in it, such as Champion radish or one of the smaller varieties of nasturtium.
You can grow a beetroot top in a saucer just like a carrot top. In about ten days, you will start to get some splendid green leaves with red veins . You could also try hollowing out the centre and hanging it like the carrot or make another little stand to hold it.
Peaches, apricots or nectarines.
You can start growing at any time, though in winter, results will be slower. In any case, you may have to wait some months. If a peach stone is very carefully cracked with a nutcracker, just break it open a little around the sides, and when planted, it should grow easily and make a little tree. Each spring, cut back the branches to keep it a nice, compact, tree-like shape. You might even get flowers and fruit one day, if the plant is kept in a warm place and moved into a larger pot each spring.
To plant your fruit stone, you will need a plastic flowerpot about 70mm across and some compost to fill it. Before putting compost in the pot, cover the hole at the bottom with a bottle cap to stop water running out too freely. Fill the pot to about 20mm from the top; press the compost down and push the stone in, covering it with a little more compost. Water well, and do so again whenever the compost begins to feel dry. Stand the pot in a saucer to catch the drips. If possible, place the pot in a sunny spot outdoors during the summer.
That hard stone in the middle of an avocado is full of promise, but it needs slightly different care. It doesn’t like light, at first. Although you can grow it in compost, it is easier and much more interesting to watch if you start it off in water. Have you got a drinking tumbler of blue or green plastic? If so, put the stone in (pointed end up and pour water in till it is halfway up the stone. Then put it by a warm radiator or stove. If you haven’t got a coloured one, use an ordinary one, but put it in a warm, dark cupboard, or shield it from light with dark paper or kitchen foil. Keep the water topped up. If it and the stone get slimy, rinse the glass and the stone under a tap. After about 3–6 weeks, you should see the stone begin to split, and both a shoot and a root will start to grow out of the split. When they are about 20mm long, transfer the plant to a 120mm pot containing potting compost. Make sure that about 10mm of the stone shows above the compost, and water it into place and stand it on an old saucer to stop drips on Mum’s bench.
Vol 3 Issue 5 Spring 2012 7
and the egg Hundreds of millions of eggs are sold in our supermarkets annually, and more than 80 million broiler chickens are grown each year. The methods used to raise poultry products have come under question in recent years, and the free range option has become increasingly popular amongst consumers. ALEX STAINES cracks the shell of the issues.
ost eggs available to New Zealand consumers come from ‘battery’ hens housed in cages. Other egg production methods are ‘barn’ systems and free range. In barns, hens can move around but they don’t have access to an outdoor area. The free range egg market has taken off in recent years. You’ll pay a premium for the knowledge that your eggs come from smallish flocks of hens happily foraging among the trees. However, this vision might not be matched by reality. An official study in 2009 revealed that the majority of free range eggs came from large-scale operations farming more than 10,000 chooks, and these birds lacked access to sheltered outdoor areas in which to forage. New Zealand’s National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (NAWAC), which recommends codes of welfare to the Minister of Agriculture, said in 2007 that while hens’ behaviour might be more “normal” in large free range operations,“it cannot be concluded that these alternatives guarantee better overall welfare for hens”. Some aspects of the hens’ welfare could be more easily managed in cages, said the committee. Despite this ‘official’ position, animal welfare issues associated with battery cages have been widely publicised, both here and overseas. In January this year, the European Union banned conventional battery cages because of research showing they increased the risk of disease, 8 Best of Times
bone breakage, harmful pecking, behavioural problems, and death. The New Zealand government has been revising the code of welfare for layer hens. Indications are that ‘enriched’ colony cages will replace battery cages for egg production in New Zealand. Colony cages allow birds to nest, perch, and scratch – three important behaviours for layer hens. While colony cages are ‘enriched’, though, they are still restrictive for the birds. The transition between the two cage systems might be a lengthy and costly affair. Converting from cages to a barn system costs less than the change from battery to colony cages, according to figures from the UK. Barn systems benefit layer hens as they are naturally forest dwellers and prefer somewhere safe and solid to live. Chicken is New Zealand’s favourite type of meat. It tastes great and is a good source of lean protein. Table chicken farming practices have been in the publicity spotlight in recent years. Animal rights organisations have made claims about the welfare (or lack of it) of intensively farmed animals and the quality of the meat produced.The Poultry Industry Association of New Zealand, which “represents 99 per cent” of poultry farmers in this country, points to a 2006 AgResearch study that concluded that “the welfare of broilers in New Zealand is high by international standards”. New Zealand’s Animal Welfare Act requires owners
and people in charge of animals to ensure that the physical, health, and behavioural needs of animals are met, and that pain and distress are alleviated.The Royal New Zealand SPCA is responsible for enforcing this Act, and has developed a Blue Tick accreditation scheme for eggs. “The SPCA has defined free range standards,” said Juliette Banks, the organisation’s national accreditation and marketing manager, “Free range is a marketing term.” In my local supermarket, egg cartons carry an identification of the farming method used.There are three brands of cage eggs, five of free range, and one barn-raised brand on sale.There is one Blue Tick brand. Most of the table chickens on sale were conventional broilers of one brand, and there was one type of free range chicken. No certified organic or SPCA accredited chicken brands were available.The choice for consumers involves balancing price against perceptions about the health of the animals, including the farming method used. In terms of price, there is no doubt that you’ll pay more for free range chicken meat, and an organically farmed table chicken can be more than twice the price of a ‘standard’ broiler chicken.
Your views In a surprising result, a recent Best of Times reader survey showed that 63 per cent of retirement villagers polled preferred to buy free range eggs, while only 36 per cent preferred standard (battery cage) eggs. Confirming this, villager Richard Hoyle said, “I was surprised that everyone I asked bought free range eggs! Obviously price is not a problem, at least in Selwyn Village. Reasons given were yellower yolks, better taste, and sympathy for hens.” However, comments from the reader survey were split down the middle. Those retirement villagers who bought standard eggs sympathised with the battery chickens’ plight, but their comments reflected price as the biggest factor. Comments included: “[It’s a] pity free range are so expensive”, “Sadly, too large a price difference”, and “One trouble with free range is that they are always, in the stores I use, in mixed sizes, and at that, are generally quite small. Makes them even more expensive.” Free range eggs were preferred for a wider variety of reasons, including: “Prefer free range as more natural”, “[Battery cages] should be banned”, and “Free range are potentially better nutritionally because of the hens’ more varied diet. Also, the cruelty of battery cages is deplorable”.
Egg Producers Federation of NZ: www.eggfarmers.org.nz Poultry Industry Association of New Zealand: www.pianz.org.nz Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Animal Welfare: www.maf.govt.nz/biosecurity-animal-welfare
Slowing down in later life doesn’t mean stopping altogether, cautions health expert DR JOE KOSTERICH. Here are his common -sense tips on staying active.
Six tips for a
longer life I
t’s now “official” – being sedentary does actually kill you. The negative impact of a sedentary lifestyle on our health has been observed for many years, but it has now been clearly shown and quantified. An Australian study of 8,800 people over six years found those who spent four hours or more watching TV each day had a 46 per cent higher chance of dying and were 80 per cent more likely to die of heart disease than those watching two hours or less per day. A study of 123,000 Americans over 14 years showed a 20 per cent (men) and 40 per cent (women) difference in death rates between those who sat for over six hours per day versus those sitting for less than three. Another American study showed people who were sedentary found it harder to lose weight even when taking in the same amount of calories. Small incidental movements like taking the stairs had a significant effect. In this study, the groups did the same amount of “exercise”. The group that did more movement in their daily life had fewer problems with weight. The human body is designed to be active. Until recent times, this was not optional. To eat, you needed to catch or gather food. To get from place to place, you needed to walk. Most work was physical. Today, we have so many labour-saving devices that most of the “incidental” movement and exercise we got even one generation ago is gone. Thirty years ago, you needed to get out of the car to open your garage door, and dare I say it, get up off the couch to change the TV channel. Interestingly, and this is a new finding, even those who did some regular exercise were still affected by being sedentary for long periods. There are metabolic changes that occur in our bodies whilst we are “still”, that amongst other things, slow down the burning of fat. Sugar and cholesterol metabolism are also affected. While regular exercise remains vital for your health, being sedentary for long periods is a separate problem. The two do not
seem to cancel each other out. “Exercise is not a perfect antidote for sitting,” Marc Hamilton, an inactivity researcher at Pennington Biomedical Research Centre, told The New York Times. The good news, though, is that the answer to prolonged inactivity is fairly simple. Here are some simple ideas to incorporate into your life. 1. Take the stairs instead of the escalator or lift. 2. Park in the furthest rather than nearest spot at the shops. 3. When working on your computer or at a desk, get up and wander around for a minute every 30 minutes. 4. Limit your TV time to two hours per day maximum. Get up and wander around the room during the ads. Get up to change the channel. 5. Do some housework each day. Chores like ironing, hanging out the washing, and even cutting vegetables are being “active.” 6. See what you can do standing instead of sitting. The simple act of standing uses muscles that sitting doesn’t. It is great when medical science catches up with what we all really know anyway. Movement is a bit like medicine but without side effects or cost. Doctor, speaker, author, media presenter, and health industry consultant, Dr Joe Kosterich wants you to be healthy and get the most out of life. Dr Joe also gives practical motivational health talks for the general public and organisations. www.drjoe.net.au
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Geneva Health Care Vol 3 Issue 5 Spring 2012 9
For many New Zealanders, retirement is a thing of the past. But finding work in this economic climate is hard, whatever your age. LEIGH BRAMWELL goes on the hunt for why retirees are re-entering the workforce.
one are the days when 65 arrives and we collect the gold watch and head home to put our feet up. Many postretirement-age New Zealanders either need or want to work, and experts generally agree that it’s vital for them to feel valued, challenged, and engaged. But the reality is that jobs are hard to find at any age, and the dream of slotting into a nice little post-retirement job is, more often than not, just that. According to research carried out by the Equal Employment Opportunities Trust, some employers believe older people don’t have the same amount of energy as younger applicants, and when it comes to jobs involving manual labour, they’re not as physically fit and strong, which is likely to affect their ability to do the work.They’re also often regarded as being less technically savvy and less able to adapt to new technology. Auckland careers counsellor, Kaye Avery, who has a special interest in older jobseekers, says it can be harder for them to find work, especially in tough economic times. Kaye completed a Master’s research project working later in life, and warns that there are a lot of myths around older people in the workforce that may put employers off. “These are things like they’re not interested in training and development, and they’re not as agile with technology.That’s not true – many people have kept up with technology and they’re very interested in learning new things. A lot are prepared to retrain and pick up new skills.” Another misconception is that younger people need the work more than older ones, who are better off financially. It may have been true once, but it’s by no means a certainty these days. Kaye points out that life is very different for over-50s today compared with previous generations. Many baby boomers have dependent children at home and still owe money on their house, unlike their parents who, at the same age, had paid off their mortgages, and because they started their families when they were in their early 20s, had seen all their children fly the nest. Meanwhile, the recession and collapse of finance companies has meant some older people who were looking forward to giving up work in the next few years and living on their savings and investments are back to square one.
10 Best of Times
However, if in the face of all that negativity, you still want to find that perfect postretirement job, there’s plenty of advice, information, and training available. One of the first things to accept is that you may not find employment in the field in which you are trained, so you need to be flexible. Kaye says it may not be possible for all senior job hunters to completely change direction, but they should at least be prepared to think laterally and widen their net to include jobs that can make use of the skills they already have. Job-hunting can be nerve-wracking at the best of times – especially if you’ve been made redundant and your confidence has taken a hammering – and when you know there’s lots of competition for jobs because of the recession, it can be particularly stressful. People are also likely to find it harder if they’ve been in the same job for many years and are not used to promoting themselves. Having said that, many older people ‘luck into’ jobs through friends and networks, and a surprising number end up with parttime jobs to take the pressure off friends who have their own businesses, especially in the retail sector. These opportunities are easier to come by if you live in a small town where you’re known to local business owners. “I just offered to help out at the local garden centre for free,” says 67-year-old retiree Tom McCulloch. “I went in for a couple of half days a week to give the boss a break and got a few free plants for my trouble. Now I’m permanent part-time and getting paid real money.” Money isn’t always an issue for those who are seeking work to keep themselves engaged and motivated. Working for ‘contra’ is often a good alternative for both employer and employee, and it’s certainly worthwhile making the offer. For those after more serious employment, the 40+ Employment Trust is a charity that offers practical help to people over 40 in all aspects of job hunting, from organising a CV to practising interview techniques. It’s one of just a handful of organisations dedicated to finding work for older people. The trust’s job-seeking clients may be unemployed, looking for a change, or
Careers counsellor Kaye Avery
Villagers out of retirement In a worrying statistic, more than one third (36 per cent) of retirement villagers polled in the July Best of Times survey believed they did not have enough money to comfortably live on in retirement. A further 9 per cent were unsure, while just over half (55 per cent) thought they had enough money in their retirement. Only a handful of respondents who had returned to work after retirement offered their reasons. Some 67 per cent* said “I (or my family) need the money” and 67 per cent* said “Working keeps me connected with community/friends/ colleagues”. One respondent added, “I was needed by the Department, so I returned to work for one year.” Of those village residents who had dabbled with post-retirement work, most remarked on the benefits of work, with comments such as “[It is] good for you”, “It is great if you enjoy it and are able”, and “If you enjoy it, do it, but respect the lifestyle of your partner”. More cautionary comments included “I worked until I was 68 and found that I was no longer enjoying my work as much as before, so I quit. I tried a single consulting job a few months later and decided: never again!” and “There is no reason why a person should seek a paid job after retirement from their long-time occupation. Older people are capable of contributing to the general productivity of the nation.” *Multiple answers allowed, so results greater than 100%.
“It may not be possible for all senior job hunters to completely change direction, but they should at least be prepared to think laterally and widen their net to include jobs that can make use of the skills they already have.”
86-yearold Marie Thompson is “as fit as a trout” and her skills and experience are in demand in the workplace. recently redundant. Based in Christchurch but with an extensive website (www.matureemploy.inet.nz), the trust offers general advice and guidance on improving strategies for getting work, putting together a CV, writing covering letters for specific applications, practising interviewing skills, completing online applications, and more. The services are completely free for most and there’s no limit to the number of times you can get help. If you’re ready to dip your toe into the waters of post-retirement employment, take some time to sit down and work out exactly what skills you have. Include everything you can think of, however minor. Kaye Avery says it’s a rewarding and confidence-boosting exercise, and you’ll be surprised at how much you have to offer.
At the age of 85, Marie Thompson retired from her retail job in Howick, East Auckland, when the business closed its doors. But within a year, she was happily back behind the counter at another shop on the village’s main street. “I enjoyed my retirement as I caught up on lots of jobs and with people I had wanted to see, but I’m enjoying being back at work, particularly the contact with the public,” Marie explains. It was possibly the good country air in Te Kuiti where she was raised, but at 86, this tiny dynamo remains, in her own words, “as fit as a trout,” and just as well, since she seems to be constantly busy. A mother of two sons, with two grandchildren and four great grandchildren, she gardens, cooks, and there’s always home-baking in the tins for her many visitors. “I work two days a week, I still drive all over Auckland, and I have lots of visitors staying over. I make sure there is something to do every day.” The job came to her through Robyn Cotton, owner of the Bedroom Shop, who contacted Marie when she had a staffing emergency. “She came in here, she knew exactly what to do, and I’ve had such good feedback from the customers,” Robyn says. Being brought out of retirement obviously suits Marie. “I’d worked for years in shoe shops in Remuera and Howick and was sad to finish up.” Now she’s enjoying being back at work in the village where she’s known so well.
Taking Liberty Christchurch retirement village resident PETER GOODING has travelled the world a few times over, and in his first travel tips column, he takes us on a road well-trod to Liberty Island, New York. On a cool May day in New York, I lined up with hundreds of others waiting to board the continuous ferry service to Liberty Island. As with most visits to iconic American attractions, security was tight. Similar to my airport experience, it was necessary to empty pockets, remove belt, etc. to be processed by security personnel. After an hour, I was off on a 30-minute ferry ride. The closer the ferry approached the statue, the more inspiring it became. The Statue of Liberty is a colossus, 151 feet high (46m), mounted on a large plinth, which raises its total height to 305 feet (93m). It was a gift from the citizens of France to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of American Independence. To understand the French connection, it is necessary to realise that America may not have won its independence from the British without their help. France provided arms, ships, money, and men to the American colonies. The germ of the idea for the gift of the Statue to America is reputed to have come from a group of intellectuals, scholars, and liberals who were opposed to the oppressive regime in France of Napolean III. Frèderic Auguste Batholdi was the statue’s creator, assisted by Gustave Eiffel (later of Eiffel Tower fame), and it took nine years (1875 to 1884) to complete. The statue was fabricated by moulding sheets of copper over a steel frame. It was dismantled and shipped to New York in 241 crates in 1885, where it required four months to rebuild. The statue was unveiled on its present island site on 28 October 1886. The Statue of Liberty, its copper robes coloured green by the weather, is internationally recognised as the symbol of democracy and freedom. It has welcomed millions of immigrants sailing to New York since 1886, symbolised by poet Emma Lazarus’s sonnet “The New Colossus” inscribed in bronze on the base of the Statue:
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame With conquering limbs astride from land to land; Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame Is imprisoned lightning, and her name Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command The air –bridged harbor that twin cities frame, “Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore, Send these, the homeless the tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door.” Vol 3 Issue 5 Spring 2012 11
Home-grown guitar legend Peter Posa’s career retrospective album has powered past Katy Perry and smashed Justin Bieber to debut at number 1 in the charts. SHANE CUMMINGS catches up with Peter to discover the secrets of the White Rabbit.
ho would have guessed it? A Kiwi guitarist best known for his plucky, memorable tune from 1963, “The White Rabbit” – and who is now a retiree living the country life in Te Awamutu – has returned to haunt the music charts like the ghost of good music longforgotten. Peter Posa’s album, White Rabbit: The Very Best of Peter Posa, is a second go at doing a career retrospective. His ‘best of ’, released 15 years earlier, was a good effort, but Peter is over the moon that Sony Music gave him the chance to shine once again with a ‘very best of ’. The difference, Peter points out, is important. “It is the most definitive album I have released. I’m extremely happy with it.This one has a better sound, better song selection, and the cover is very eye-catching,” Peter says. “I’ve always been a perfectionist, and I never settle for anything second rate.” Convinced? Go have a listen and pop back to this article when you’re done. If you don’t have a copy of the album, you’ll find Peter in his heyday plucking out his hit single “The White Rabbit” on YouTube … Born and raised in Auckland’s suburb of Henderson, Peter was always drawn to the guitar, and at nine, he was given his first guitar. Even at that age, he proved himself to be a natural when he taught himself to play (he reckons he was scared of the tutor). “[Teaching yourself how to play] gives you a lot more scope.You have to learn to improvise. I think that’s how I’ve got so many different guitar sounds.” His first and biggest hit, the single “The White Rabbit” and the album of the same name, was released in 1963 to international acclaim. It reached number 1 in New Zealand (selling over 100,000 copies) and was a top 20 hit in Australia. It also earned Peter fans locally and in the Pacific, and gained him an audience with the legendary Frank Sinatra. 12 Best of Times
“[Sinatra] asked me about my career, and he seemed genuinely interested. I was thrilled. I was a fan of Sinatra when I was a kid. I always had one ear on Hank Williams and the other on Frank.” That was just the beginning. “‘White Rabbit’ changed my life. If I wasn’t on the road touring, I was recording. In one year, I did 362 days out of the year on the road. I paid for it later, though. I had to take three months rest because I was nervously and physically exhausted. I should have never allowed [the heavy schedule] to
Peter (centre right) shooting the breeze with Frank Sinatra (centre left). happen, but that was me: go go go!” The rest of the 60s were a bit of a blur for Peter, but his heavy workload and touring schedule allowed him to consolidate his fan base at home and in the Pacific. “I made 20 LPs, 14 EPs, and 30 single play albums (the old 45s) over a period of six years. That’s a lot of records.” Peter covered a lot of ground with those albums, releasing diverse acoustical offerings aimed at his Maori, Fijian, and New Caledonian fans, among others. “I had so many fans in the islands. In Fiji, they made me an honorary chief, and in Nouméa, they called me ‘King Peter’.” Life quietened down after a car accident
in the 70s, but all along, Peter kept strumming. Fifty three years as a professional musician has taught him some valuable life lessons, particularly now that he struggles with pain and illness. “Music is extremely therapeutic. It will break the cycles on a lot of things. When I get in a lot of pain, the only way I can break it is to get the guitar out and play. Something must happen between the brain and the soul because when I play, I can’t feel the pain – and I get bad pain. “People in rest homes love music. People with Alzheimer’s disease love music; it’s the last thing to go. I have a friend in Australia who is 63 and has Alzheimer’s, but he can still play the piano brilliantly – as good as he could when he was 30.” Although it’s unlikely Peter will get out on tour again (his last gig was a packedout cabaret show in Otorohanga four years ago), Peter says he’s “playing better than ever” and jamming at home up to five hours a day. On looking back at a spectacular career, he gets drawn back to his initial success with “The White Rabbit”, his signature tune. “Lindsay Butler, probably the most popular country guitarist in Australia, recently released a tribute album to Duane Eddy and me. He actually said on his album that Peter was a brilliant guitarist and way ahead of his time. I had a sound that no one else had. ‘White Rabbit’ was a unique sound that no one had – not even in America. “Everybody connects with ‘White Rabbit’. It is a magic tune. People remember me just like it was yesterday. By the reaction, I think this will be the biggest thing to happen to me since the release of The White Rabbit album. It’s like it was meant to happen.” Returning to the charts with New Zealand’s number 1 album … it sure was, Peter.
a safe haven? With economies and sharemarkets around the world still in turmoil due to the Global Credit Crisis, investors have been increasingly turning to bonds for yield and as a “safe haven”, says ALAN CLARKE.
ver the past several years, bonds have been far and away the most popular asset class, because bonds – good quality bonds – have been solid and steady. A bond is a usually a loan to a government, a state-owned enterprise, or a large corporate. Bonds generally will be for a five-year term, carry a fixed rate, and have a rating. There are other bonds that reset their interest rate annually and some are perpetual and never mature. Unless you know the bond market well, it is better to stick to five-year bonds that pay a fixed rate and have a known maturity date. Beware of some of the new issues that do not mature for 10 or even 15 years. They are quite complex and are not really suitable for the average investor. Bonds can be bought when issued or from other investors. The global bond market is twice the size of the global sharemarket, and millions of bonds are traded daily around the world. As always, there are very good bonds, good bonds, average bonds, and junk bonds. Ratings are AAA, AA, A, BBB, BB, or B. Anything higher than BBB is investment grade. Don’t go below BBB or buy unrated bonds unless you really know what you are doing. Some examples of New Zealand ratings and interest rates: Rating
Approx. yields - April 2012
New Zealand government bonds
New Zealand government bonds
Telecom, Auckland Airport, Fonterra
Contact Energy, Tower
As with all investments, bonds do not offer a “free ride” – the higher the return, the higher the risk. If you’re seeking a safe haven, you must seek quality first and put yield second.
Interest rates are impossible to predict, and since you don’t want all your money maturing at the same time, the bonds in your portfolio should have different maturity dates. Some should mature in 2014, some in 2015, some in 2016, and so on. Bond prices can rise and fall – the pricing mechanism mainly depends on interest rates: If interest rates rise, the price will fall* If interest rates fall, the price will rise*. * This only matters if you want to sell before maturity. Bonds in New Zealand are currently very expensive (lowish returns) due to high demand and a lack of new issues. Hence, investing in a $10,000 BNZ bank AA-rated bond paying 8.675 per cent and maturing in 2015 would cost about $11,000 today. This is a $1000 premium you would not get back if held to maturity, although any such loss is tax deductible. The better option is new issues, but very few are coming to the market. What about global bonds? The global economic infrastructure is in much better shape than it was in 2008. When the Global Credit Crisis hit, many companies restructured, became as “lean and mean” as they could be, and are now profitable. In addition, many US companies have been prudent and are holding onto an estimated US$2 trillion in cash reserves. With many corporates in such good shape, investors and fund managers are already tilting their bond portfolios away from shaky governments to corporate bonds. But how do you access these from little old New Zealand? My favoured global bond fund is the DFA five-year fixedinterest trust, which is spread across 80 to 90 AAA and AA-rated global bonds, and so has excellent diversification and is very low risk. The fund is hedged into New Zealand dollars, so is unaffected by the exchange rate. In keeping with the DFA philosophy, this is a low-cost fund. It was designed by Eugene Fama, a DFA director, who won
the inaugural 2009 global Onassis award for services to global finance (no-one in financial circles in New Zealand has won such a high-profile award). The average return has been 7.5 per cent per annum since inception in 2004. While it is known as a five-year fixed-interest trust, this only relates to the maximum duration of the investments they hold, and funds can be withdrawn at any time. Bonds in summary If bonds appeal to you, buy a mix of New Zealand bonds and the DFA fixed-interest funds. Take care in selecting a portfolio of bonds, as a properly-designed portfolio will always perform better than a portfolio put together in an ad-hoc way. Forecasting I have yet to meet the individual who can consistently forecast economic events, interest rates, exchange rates, the gold price, or pick the right shares. The best course of action is to diversify widely and pursue quality. Investment rules »» Short timeframe (under one year) – cash only. »» One to two years – cash and bonds. »» Two to five years – cash, bonds and perhaps a small allocation to shares. »» Five to seven years – plenty of bonds and some shares. »» More than seven years – maybe fewer bonds and more shares. »» If you like gold, hold perhaps five per cent of your total investments in gold. »» As always, be patient. Don’t be swayed by the media into making hasty emotion-based decisions. This article was supplied by Alan Clarke, author of Retire Richer – a practical guide for everyone aged 25 to 85. Check out www.retirericher.co.nz Alan is an authorised financial adviser (AFA) and his disclosure statement is available on request and free of charge. Vol 3 Issue 5 Spring 2012 13
giveaways AND FUN
Get free stuff! Write your preferred giveaway, your name and address on the back of an envelope and post to: Best of Times Giveaways, PO Box 200, Wellington 6140. Or email: firstname.lastname@example.org Closing date: 20 October 2012.
Vittoria Coffee, Arabica perfection! Cultivating green thumbs
Vittoria’s original and iconic blend, Espresso, has remained unchanged for over 50 years. This blend of 100% Arabica coffee beans is darkly roasted to deliver the strong flavour of traditional Italian espresso.
A grand tour of the garden
Cornwell’s latest thriller
Lest we forget
NZ’s no. 1 guitar hero
Made in NZ
Yates has been looking after New Zealand gardens for decades. To get ready for spring, you could win this assortment of Yates garden products. This Yates garden prize pack is valued at $350.
A beautiful and well-researched guide to over 50 gardens throughout New Zealand that are open to the public. From New Zealand Garden Trust gardens of international significance to small personal favourites of the authors, this richly illustrated guidebook will delight gardening fans throughout the country.
New Zealand’s number 1 bestselling album, White Rabbit: The Very Best of Peter Posa, celebrates guitar legend Peter Posa’s 50-year musical career. Peter was one of New Zealand’s most prolific recording artists in the sixties, producing 17 albums, 15 EPs, and 13 singles. This ‘best of ’ album include’s Peter’s signature hit, “White Rabbit”.
14 Best of Times
Kay Scarpetta as you have never seen her before – a must-read for fans of this series or an ideal starting point for new readers. A woman has vanished while digging up a dinosaur bone bed in the remote wilderness of Canada. Somehow, the only evidence has made its way to the inbox of Chief Medical Examiner Kay Scarpetta, over two thousand miles away in Boston.
A celebration of New Zealand society through some of its greatest living citizens, Made in NZ (valued at $79.99) is a beautiful coffee table book that salutes successful New Zealanders, from the full gamut of New Zealand society – writers, artists, politicians, scientists, business executives, and sportspeople.
There are more than 30,000 New Zealand men and women, casualties of the two world wars, buried in cemeteries and named on memorials around the world. From Gallipoli to the Western Front, the Middle East, Africa, and the Pacific, this book charts a journey of remembrance.
Roundup those weeds
To put it simply, Roundup Gel is a revolution in weed control! It precisely targets weeds in awkward places and is ideal for flower beds, flower pots, paths, and around shrub’s. With extra care, you can even target weeds in lawns!
FINDAWORD - Pen Names Find all the words listed hidden in the grid of letters. They can be found in straight lines up, down, forwards, backwards or even diagonally. The leftover letters will reveal the mystery answer.
Fancy a good read this Spring? Best of Times has been supplied with a great selection of Spring reads, including The Help by Kathryn Stockett (recently adapted into a hit movie!), Jane Fonda’s Prime Time, The Ugly Sister by Jane Fallon, Jack Duckworth and Me by Bill Tarmey & Alan Hart, Are You Ready?, the New Zealand disaster survival guide, and heaps more!
Have you ever read an e-book? o Yes o No o Unsure If you haven't read an e-book before, would you be interested in reading one? o Yes o No o Unsure
O L S N A Y R N E H O A E C I
R E F I D N A R N Y A K E N R
G W O V O L T A I R E D U E R
E R R A C E L N H O J I Q R E
E O E E D M C B A I N N Y F H
L E S L I E C H A R T E R I S
I G T E R E I L O M G S E C E
O R E L L E B S I L L E L C M
T L O E RW M I A S R C K A T R WR A O I L N L L E I N A J
E G S N I B B O R D L O R A H
© Lovatts Puzzles
Would you like to have your say on the stories that appear in Best of Times? Now you can! Every issue, we will quiz you, our loyal readers, on topics of interest, and we’ll include your responses in our feature stories. In our upcoming Summer issue, Best of Times will cover the ever-changing world of reading and e-books.
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If you would like to be included on the Best of Times email list (including reader surveys), please write your name and email If you have read e-books, what is your preferred e-reader? address in the text field below: o Kindle (from Amazon) o Kobo (from Whitcoulls/other retailers) Name:.......................................................................................... o Sony (from Whitcoulls/other retailers) o Nook (from Barnes & Noble) o iPad (from Apple) Solution: LEMONY SNICKET Email address:............................................................................... o Other tablet PCs (such as Android) Retirement village:....................................................................... o iPhone/smartphone o Computer/laptop Send your completed survey to: Find A Word 4007 The Editor, Best of Times Do you have any comments about e-books? © Lovatts Puzzles Box 200, Wellington 6011 ................................................................................................. or fax to: 04 471 1080 ................................................................................................. ................................................................................................. Or complete the survey online: ................................................................................................. www.surveymonkey.com/s/6B7P83G Vol 3 Issue 5 Spring 2012 15
Puzzle solution: LEMONY SNICKET
AYN RAND R L G E CS FORESTER M O L L CURRER BELL DR SEUSS O N L C ED MCBAIN Y S E Y ELLERY QUEEN C A B K ELLIS BELL GEORGE ELIOT D D R D GEORGE ORWELL N U E R GEORGE SAND GRANT NAYLOR A R R S HAROLD ROBBINS S E R E ISAK DINESEN E N U U JAMES HERRIOT G O C S JOHN LE CARRE LESLIE CHARTERIS R L I S LEWIS CARROLL O B E N MARK TWAIN E A T H MOLIERE G P T O NICCI FRENCH O HENRY SOLUTION PABLO NERUDA VOLTAIRE
The original aches & pains relieving honey.
0800 356 728
Email: email@example.com Web:
TREAT YOURSELF! YES! SEnd mE a nEctar EaSE SamplE pack: n contains 120g nectar Ease. n plus 10g nectar Balm.
Enough product for a 2 week trial.
29 Day LEISURELY UK TOUR
please send me my $5 Sample pack ($5 enclosed) to: nelson Honey and marketing (nZ) ltd, motupiko, 276 SH6, rd2, nelson 7072 name: ........................................................ address: ..................................................... ................................................................
Freephone: 0800 289 992 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Adelaide & Murray River Explore Adelaide and the surrounding region. Includes Barossa Valley tour and a 4 night Murray River cruise aboard the paddle-wheeler PS Murray Princess
10 days departs 14 September 2012
Taranaki Rhododendron Festival Coach tour to Taranaki’s Rhododendron Festival. A variety of gardens are visited including Pukeiti & Crosshills. Includes a night at the Grand Chateau Tongariro.
6 days departs 28 October 2012
Tasmania Discover the best of Tasmania Proposed tour departs November 2012
Tours escorted from Auckland. Phone Shavourn for further information.
Twilight Travel & Tours 0800 999 887 www.twilighttravel.co.nz
A member of Travel Managers Group - IATA Accredited and TAANZ Bonded
16 Best of Times
Join our small group tours (max. 20.) 2013 tour will be June/July. You may choose to also join our (optional) post tour to Ireland (10 days.) Minimum numbers apply. Ask about a private tour for clubs, friends, family etc. Please call 0800 276312 within New Zealand (64) 3 312 6635 outside New Zealand Or visit
www.tourwithusnow.com NZ Govt. Licenced operator, 18 years experience.
“(Before moving in) we hadn’t heard much about Gracelands, but I did hear that should you later need care this was the place to buy a villa” Gracelands offers independent living plus rest home and hospital care. In 2010, we asked residents for their thoughts on life here and why they chose Gracelands in the first place. The quote above is from one resident, here’s what others said: “Well spoken of in Hastings and near to where I lived” ‘People we knew at Gracelands seemed happy”
Enjoy the Good Life at Acacia Cove A New Zealand-owned and operated lifestyle village situated on the beautiful Wattle Downs Peninsula. We currently have a 102sqm, 2-bedroom apartment available with a large deck overlooking our full-size bowling green.
“Before moving in, I stayed here for two nights with a friend of mine. I moved here because of the peaceful atmosphere and the people.” “I am happy and contented – people can see that and that’s a recommendation in itself” “Everybody is friendly and the staff are always obliging” We have 60-plus villas in total, but they are popular: only a handful are usually available at any given time.
The apartment has 2 WCs, a separate computer area and an amazing top-of-the-range kitchen. So why not act now and arrange a visit?
Contact: Bruce Cullington Ph: 09 268 8522 email: email@example.com www.acaciacovevillage.co.nz
Talk to Louise Gibbs on (06) 872 6179 or 027 660 5801.
Gracelands Lifestyle Care & Village 730 Pakowhai Road Hastings
Construction will start soon on The Summerhouse, the first of several community facilities at Pacific Coast Village. Pacific Coast Village is resort style retirement living across from the beach between Mt Maunganui and Papamoa.
Brand new retirement village apartments in the Auckland suburb of Meadowbank Imagine for a moment living in a pleasant and likeable place with people like you as neighbours; and good transport links putting family, friends, shops and services within easy reach. On those days when people visit or when you just want to relax at home, a well –designed apartment in which to spend time. Plus; when you want to mix and mingle with neighbours, there’s both an indoor and outdoor community area for all to enjoy. From October 2012, this is just the sort of warm and welcoming community you will be able to enjoy right here at Meadowbank Retirement Village. Think of it as a “homely Hotel’ – somewhere comfortable, familiar and smart. Currently under construction and due for completion in October 2012 are: 1. New one and two-bedroom; and two-bedroom with study apartments. 2. A community centre with dining room hospitality area and gas fire place. 3. An outdoor community area with pergola, seating and BBQ area. For immediate enquiries and to receive an information pack: Phone: (09) 356 1810 or 0800 623 264 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tel 07 572 3029 | www.PacificCoastVillage.co.nz
Vol 3 Issue 5 Spring 2012 17
Do you have questions about living in a retirement village? The Department of Building and Housing provides free independent advice and information for people living in or thinking about moving into a retirement village. Call us free on: 0800 83 62 62 or visit our website www.dbh.govt.nz The Department of Building and Housing is the government agency responsible for overseeing the Retirement Villages Act.