#PicOfTheDay – February 2017

This may be the perfect antidote to the current funk that is currently attached to many social media posts over the past year… A sudden urge to drop this on Feb 1st albeit with some slightly different rules. I was partly inspired after seeing this Jamie Livingston ‘Photo of the Day’ video on a recent Facebook post.

Enjoy the 2017 season. Who knows, I may decide to continue this indefinitely…


#PicOfTheDay #010217 “(Last) Xmas Pop-up Market” #Filter Fame


#PicOfTheDay #030217 ‘Karikari Sunset’ #NoFilter


#PicOfTheDay #030217 ‘Karikari Sunset 2’ #NoFilter


#PicOfTheDay #050217 ‘Outrageously Blue Water’ #NoFilter – at Karikari Peninsula


#PicOfTheDay #060217 ‘Beach Buddies’ #NoFilter –  at Matai Bay


#PicOfTheDay #060217 ‘Not A Cloud In The Sky, Barely A Soul On The Beach’ #NoFilter  – at Matai Bay


#PicOfTheDay #060217 ‘Mangonui Fish Shop …Because It Would Be Rude Not To Stop By!’#NoFilter 


‪#PicOfTheDay #080217 ‘Rangi and I’ #Filter Stark‬ 


‪#PicOfTheDay #090217 ‘Sky Tower Blue’ #NoFilter‬


#PicOfTheDay #100217 ‘#JuryService #coffeeselfie‘ #Filter Fame


#PicOfTheDay #110217 ‘The Lighthouse by Michael Parekowhai’ #NoFilter ‬ 


#PicOfTheDay #110217 ‘The NightLighthouse by Michael Parekowhai’ #NoFilter ‬


#PicOfTheDay #120217 ‘Where’s Toto?’ #NoFilter 


‪#PicOfTheDay #120217 ‘Where’s Rangi?’ #NoFilter‬ 


‪#PicOfTheDay #140217 ‘Seriously Messing With My OCD’ #NoFilter‬


#PicOfTheDay #180217 ‘Generational Gap’#NoFilter 


‪#PicOfTheDay #190217 ‘Too Hot For Cats’ #NoFilter‬


‪#PicOfTheDay #190217 ‘It’s Hot Enough, I Think I’ve Earned One Of These’ #Filter Fame‬


‪#PicOfTheDay #230217 ‘Dawn Moon’ #Filter Radiant‬



‪#PicOfTheDay #230217 ‘Rainbow Walk’ #Filter Fame ‬ 


‪#PicOfTheDay #240217 ‘The Isaac’ #NoFilter ‬ 


‪#PicOfTheDay #250217 ‘Monarch’ #NoFilter‬


Dropped: #PicOfTheDay 2017

5. * BRITISH informal

(of a DJ) select and play (a record).”various guest DJs drop quality tunes both old and new”

* informal

release (a musical recording).

It’s the first of February. I’m dropping a new #PicOfTheDay for 2017. 

Word of the day: Dropped.

Some of you may be thinking “I didn’t know you had started #PicOfTheDay again this year…” Well, Ed Sheeran has dominated the music charts all over the world within 48 hours of ‘dropping’ Shape Of You and Castle On The Hill. If dropping a new release good enough for Ed, it’s good enough for me! 😉 

I’ve been reinspired (Is reinspired even a proper word? I seem to have a red wavy line underneath it…) to do this after seeing this Jamie Livingston ‘Photo of the Day’ video on a recent Facebook post: 

Just to set the record straight, I’m starting again, but I’m doing things somewhat differently to my self-imposed rules from 2015:

  • I’m not committing to publishing a picture every day but I may publish more than one picture for the day 
  • I’m not committing to the full year but I may commit to doing this for longer than a year
  • Once in a while, I might work to a theme. (I’m open to any suggestions made to me.)
  • I’m also doing this as a gift to you. 

So, here is the first of this series.

‪#PicOfTheDay #010217 “(Last) Xmas Pop-up Market” #Filter Fame ‬

Maybe this is the perfect antidote to the current funk that is currently attached to many social media posts over the past year. Maybe you will be inspired to try for however long you want to do this for. I hope you enjoy what I hope to enjoy…
Peace. Xx

Buenos Dias, Buenos Aires

This is an unusual step for me. I will mainly be blogging my pictures of my visit to Buenos Aires as I have intermittent wifi in the appartment I am staying in and I can’t rely on its reliability!

Come visit regularly for updates.

The view from the apartment:

The apartment: 


Cemetery walk:

Three weeks in… 

…and I’ve been attempting to sum up the first couple of weeks of my new job for the best part of the last week! I’m finally done…

This is the start of my fourth week in my new job. It’s a new challenge in a different environment. A new classroom to get used to with different things surrounding me. A ‘new’ MacBook with a different operating system to what I’m used to. New acronyms and terminology to work out. Different faces and names to remember. A new timetable to be familiar with. A different structure to the day. But essentially I’m doing what I have done for around 16 years. Facilitating students in their learning at school. I have been made to feel welcome by all my new colleagues and the students alike. There are 14 classes, 7 each in Year 7 and Year 8. There is a half-year rotation for the specialist subjects (Art, Music, BioScience, Te Reo and Technology) and this term I’m only teaching Year 7. 

It’s a bizarre feeling when every kid knows your name and says ‘Good morning Mr Clarke’ or ‘Hi Mister’ after just a few days, even when I haven’t taught them. 

I have also had some funny moments in my first week. One of the kids challenged me to a race across the courts at morning break in my first week. I accepted this challenge. ‘Why not?’ I thought. It’s a bit of fun and he will obviously be faster than me. We both ran to halfway across the quad and to my surprise, my challenger just gave up and I won the race. No stamina! I’m walking to my classroom the next day and a polite kid says good morning to me. As I walk away, I can hear him saying to his mate “That’s the teacher that wasted Darren in a race yesterday…” 

As part of the kotahitanga (getting to know my students), I had the choice as to what kind of programme I can deliver this term. I chose to do some coding with Scratch (scratch.mit.edu). Most of Year 7 have never done any coding before so I thought this would be a great place to start. We are now three weeks in and the classes are beginning to make some connections with their learning and with each other.   

So, as I settle into my new role as a Digital Technologies teacher, I’m thinking about the next year ahead when DigiTech becomes part of the NZ Curriculum from Years 1 to 13. http://www.education.govt.nz/news/digital-technology-to-become-part-of-the-new-zealand-curriculum-and-te-marautanga-o-aotearoa/ 

This recognition is a huge step and is welcomed by everyone already teaching in this field as well as those in Tertiary institutions and the Tech industry. 

As one of the long term goals, my school aims to provide future-focussed learning to the students. I see my role as a developing one over time. I’ve always taken the stance of being an early adopter in any new initiatives. I’m looking forward to getting stuck in to the challenge of a new curriculum to implement, whatever that will look like. Bring it! 

I’m Moving On…

This was only going to be a quick social media status update just to inform people of my next career move. I’ve decided to write this as a proper blog post as I feel that it deserves more than a few words on my timeline.

Term 4 sees the start of a new job in a new school. This is exciting as it will be a new challenge back in Auckland. It’s a Digital Technologies position, which is the first time I have seen such a role advertised in an intermediate school. This is indicative of how schools are beginning to change and it is what I found appealing which attracted me to apply for the job in the first place.

I’m pleased not to be starting from scratch. The school will already have some robotics kit and 3D printers to play with. There will be opportunities for the kids to tinker with other stuff such as electronics, computer programmes and experiments with sound and visuals. Most of all, it will be a chance for kids to develop their critical thinking and to work collaboratively. The role also gives me the chance to work with other teachers to integrate digital tools into their classroom teaching.

Working for The Mind Lab has been my dream job. I have learned so much and gained an insight into learning with kids from 5 to 55! (Yes, The Mind Lab teaches adults too!) Starting this new role will just be a continuation of that. The difference for me will be I will get to teach ALL of the kids in the school. (That will be a first in my career!) I will also get to work with other teachers collaboratively like I have never done before.

Working for The Mind Lab has afforded me a great opportunity. I have reconnected with old mates and made some new friends. I’ve worked with amazing people in Auckland, Christchurch, Gisborne and Welly. I will miss the innovative and eclectic environment. I will miss the stories I tell as part of my introduction about robot spiders that crawl out of the air conditioning. Or Optimus Prime who comes out of the buildings across the carpark and throws all the cars into the sea. Or the genetically modified broccoli that tastes of marshmallows. Or George and Mildred, the naughty monkeys that take the blame for everything that fails.

I’m glad for the chance to do what I consider to be the dream job for the last 18 months. I’m hoping to build upon what I have learnt and be a change agent in my new role. I’m looking forward to teaching Year 7 and 8 again.

That’s it. The full explanation. If you’ve made it this far, thanks for reading… Over and out!

Tribute – Cologne Sept 2007

Looking at my FB ‘On This Day’ time today, I came across this picture. This is an example of the memorials that are all over the city commemorating all the Jewish people that were ‘taken’ from their homes during the World War II. Each plaque represents a person taken from the residence and has their name and details stamped on it. A fitting tribute…

Brothers and Sisters… 

Quite often, you get called brother or sister by a stranger here in NZ. I love it when that happens as its a term of endearment. I miss being called brother by the boys at the school I used to work at in Auckland. I think I need to use it more often…

This brings me to a thought of the day from a friend on Facebook. I love this so I wanted to share… 


Thought for today -language and what it says about us. On way back from another doctors trip, I passed a woman in an electric wheelchair outside ASDA, on my way out she’s still there. She’s East African, draped in Syrian flag and looking worried. I smile and she says ‘Sister can you help me? It turns out the chair is on a slope and she doesn’t feel she can move and just needs someone to hold onto while getting off the sloping road to the catch the bus. Fine no probs. 

Little chat with the lady and off I go. What struck me was the use of the word sister. Being brought up in Manchester I was familiar with Asian families using Auntie Ji, to every female adult and certainly everyone else used to refer to friends of the family Aunties and Uncles too. I’m used the’ yo bro, cuz’ slang you hear daily, but imagine if every stranger were our sister and brother, not just our biological family. Imagine if we thought of others as kin and addressed them as such. Resonated with me today, even though to the lady speaking it was a common mode of address.

Sticks and Stones… 


Oh, what a palaver!

I’m not one to stifle free speech. People can say whatever they want to me either in person or online. But I kinda need to get this off my chest and then put it behind me. I have an issue with those people that either don’t understand the nuances of their words or people that play the troll role when others have an opinion. Never did I think for one moment this would be so close to home and that someone I knew would actually go down this path with me.

It all stems from this Facebook status update I made:

It’s now about time SOMEONE in Govt and/or the media attempts to apologise for all the xenophobia, hatred and violence this sorry mess of #Brexit has spawned in the UK. Discuss. [10 marks]

I’m just going to post (part of) the conversation here, as is. It tells you all you need to know about how complicated this issue has become.


Friend 1: How about the leave voters take some responsibility for throwing the UK into chaos and legitimising racism and far-right causes around the world? All I’m hearing is ‘respect my opinion/that’s not what I voted for’. Collective responsibility, people. That’s what’s happening as a result and you were warned. Don’t sit back and wait for those of us who always stand up to fight this when you’ve given everyone permission to ignore us.

Me: Absolutely! I don’t have a problem with which way anybody voted, as long as they voted with their eyes open.

Example: To blame ethnic minorities or Eastern Europeans for the fact you don’t have a job is a bit rich coming from some people, considering their communities live with a self-fulfilling prophecy of unemployment and lack of education that has been entrenched for well over 30 years… I’m old enough to hear the same rhetoric from back in the day. The same blame was laid onto ‘those darkies from the West Indies.’

My message to those relatively few people: This ‘darkie’ worked hard and got a degree and teaching qualification, despite growing up in an environment that meant statistically he shouldn’t have! It wasn’t easy, it’s not supposed to be. But it is possible. You just have to believe in yourself and change your closed minds!

Sermon over!

Friend 1: I’m old enough to remember that too and it makes me weep to see the NF on the street again. To have to fight that all over again 30 years later. Vote any way you please for any reason you like, but if you ‘win’ and there are negative consequences as a result. It’s up to YOU to do something about it, not those who ‘lost’. And if you think the recent rise of the far right is not a consequence of a ‘leave’ vote legitimising Farage et al, you need to wake the **** up. Rant concluded!

Me: Copied from a friend’s status update. This tells you all you need to know about the current mood…

So. I’m doing my bit for the environment today and got the bus into town. Across from me sat this woman. She was having to shout to make herself heard, presumably to her friend further back the bus. Or for other reasons. I quote this accurately if not verbatim, “I’ve worked all me life. Ah work just to pay the rent really. I’ve worked in the doughnut factory all me life. What I hate, like, is…. ‘these’. Comin’ over ‘ere and gettin’ everything.” This rant about ‘these’ was repeated several times.

Nope, I’m no hero but I couldn’t let it lie. So, I leant over and asked her who ‘these’ are meant to be. Since we were both white and middle-aged, she perhaps thought I would naturally be on her side. She replied, with a circular sweep of her hand, “These Eastern Europeans, these Bulgarians an’ Romanians an’ that. They get everything for free.”

At this point, I’m trying to not lose my temper. So I asked her about her family. She said she was on her own but had two useless sons, on the dole with no qualifications, stay in bed all day etc. (Laugh).

Well, alI I can say is it all went downhill from there as she really didn’t like my replies. I finished by reminding her that despite the referendum, racism is still illegal. I felt angry that she couldn’t even bear to follow her use of ‘these’ with the word ‘people’. She stormed off the bus swearing loudly at me but by that time most people were laughing at her and joining in with me.

So, now those with such disgusting, shameful and ugly beliefs seem to feel it is safe for them to spout off their racist nonsense in public. NOT SO.

Foe: Malcolm, as you do not actually reside here the UK at present how about winding your neck in and just accept the fact that the vote went the way it did? Or is democracy not an option anymore?

Friend 2: He still has a right to his opinion. This vote will impact on many people around the world if we split the UK and the EU. Globalisation is here to stay and if we don’t find ways to connect and work with each other our isolation will harm all of us, not just the remain voters. It’s not really democracy if the campaign was won on the back of lies and misinformation. That in itself has to be fought, particularly given the rampant racism it has released. It was shameful and the consequences are shameful. I believe other democracies that use the referendum system have a cut-off point where one side has to reach at least 60%. If they don’t the debate happens again and then another referendum. It’s a process where the issues can be properly discussed, not a binary simplistic campaign where people are exhorted to ignore the experts. Furthermore, our democracy is based on parliament making the ultimate decisions, that’s why we have elections and give our MP’s the responsibility to govern.

Me: Foe: You may want to read what I have said here again…

I have no problem with the way the vote went. I have no problem with who won. I have no problem with how anybody voted, as long as they did so with their eyes open to the consequences.

When it comes to racism, xenophobia and evilness, NO! I will not stand for anybody doing that to another human being.

My status has nothing to do with the vote itself. Just the horrible consequences.

It is against the law to incite hatred. It’s an act of terrorism. I don’t want to break the law. Nobody else should! Laws exist for a reason…

So, at some point in the future, I may choose to once again live in the ‘Disunited’ or ‘Untied’ Kingdom. I’d like to know that I would be safe from attack or any other abuse, in just the same way as I wouldn’t wish you to be attacked for being a human being.

I hope that clears the matter up. I’m sorry if being a good citizen upsets you. I just remember being a child in the 70’s and having movements like The National Front making many British citizens feel uncomfortable in their own country of birth! Let’s not go back there. I just thought the world had moved on from all of that…

Friend 3: I’m the child of foreigners, and I grew up in a neighbourhood essentially filled with other children whose parents were too, and there was also a fair contingent of Maori. Hardly any pakeha per se. My parents both came out of the hell that was post-war Europe, but that didn’t mean they had to put up with racism or xenophobia quietly. The joke in our house was that when my mother learnt English (ironically the language of the coloniser, not even the indigenous language) that all you had to learn to say was ‘NZ is a beautiful country’, and the pakeha a would walk away smugly.

I live in a small country, where the English feel they still should be congratulated for invading, and there is wonderment at the racism that lurks here. Wake up! Isolating yourself from the rest of Europe will only encourage such reactions to so-called ‘foreigners’. And there are many in the world presently laughing at the former top coloniser whining about having to close it’s doors to foreigners. You were the foreigners! You came and trampled on so many people’s rights! You stole land and fought with the indigenous trying to save their homes and now you are whining! Get over it- we have a beautiful planet to live on.

Stop your poor excuses for more racism and xenophobia, open your hearts and your doors to your fellow humans… because frankly, living in a cold miserable place is often not the first choice for many. Have some compassion, as others will have for you should anything happen to your home. And if you can’t, well then you’ve got a big history lesson coming up.

Me: Thanks Friend 3! They say lightning doesn’t strike twice in the same place. I’m beginning to disbelieve that theory…

Friend 3: *sigh* that’s just tragic. Perhaps you should say that to her at some stage down the line, when the dust has settled (for more of an impact) I’m sorry😔


Sticks and stones may break my bones…

Bring On The (R)evolution!

This: (posted on my Facebook feed…)

Polly Toynbee: What dark place does Britain for the British take us to?

Catastrophe. Britain has broken apart. An uprising of resentment by the left-behind has torn us in two, a country wrecked by a yawning class divide stretched wider by recession and austerity.

Anger against a London establishment was deftly diverted by the Tory right and UKIP towards foreigners – enemies in Brussels and aliens in our midst. Wherever we went, the Guardian reported that same fury among those without education and opportunity, a country served right for its gross inequality.

Day after day the Sun, Mail, Express, Sunday Times and Telegraph injected poison into the nation’s bloodstream with tales of foreign criminals, jihadists and scroungers. How Murdoch and Dacre will revel in their power.

What of the false hopes raised for poorly paid, insecure, badly housed Brexit voters? Expecting something better, they will get much worse. “Controlling our borders”, they will expect immigrants, new and old, to be gone. They were told more housing, GP appointments and school places would be freed up from migrants. But as treasury receipts fall, there will be less of everything. Will the next call be to expel foreigners already here? What dark place does Britain for the British take us to?

Farage’s victory speech about the decent ordinary people taking back control “without a bullet fired” was unthinkably crass with an MP shot and stabbed to death in the heat of the campaign.

Cameron must surely be gone, the most disastrous prime minister in our lifetime has brought this calamity. But he will no doubt be replaced by one yet worse as the country is taken over by Tory extremists and fantasists, wild free-marketeer romantics experimenting with other people’s lives, alongside Ukip’s pernicious racism.

Ahead lie years of fractious negotiation, turning the EU into Britain’s number one enemy. The more these populist leaders need to prove this wasn’t a fatal error, the more they will blame all home-grown woes on our close neighbours. Britain has turned its back on the world.