Bishop Ross Bay: In defence of Christmas


In an attempt to assist inclusive enculturation of migrants, the Auckland Regional Migrant Services thinks it best to avoid the word Christmas, and instead use “happy holidays” and “season’s greetings”. People can enjoy a “festive” lunch on the “seasonal” day. The intention is to avoid excluding non-Christians and those who don’t celebrate Christmas.

All very laudable in a way, though an interesting thing is that non-Christians are some of the biggest celebrators of Christmas and have already reinterpreted it to suit a secular society. Visit any shopping centre and the signs are there.

Christmas is part of us and our culture, however different people understand it.

He’s right.  In parts of Auckland where you are surrounded by temples and mosques, the Christmas decorations are somehow incongruously hanging from homes occupied by people from Iran, Hong Kong and India.   Read more »

Oh my, I feel faint, I agree with Brian Rudman

It isn’t often that I agree with Brian Rudman, perhaps once a year.

Today is one such day, I’m feeling a little queasy. He has a crack at Muslim apologist Dame Susan Devoy.

It would be great to see Human Rights Commissioner Susan Devoy take on a real problem, instead of wasting time on hoary old sillinesses like dropping the word Christmas from our summer vocabulary.

Dame Susan wants to save me, and the majority of New Zealanders who are not Christian, from feeling excluded at this time of year. Let me assure her that as long as the sun shines, the wine flows and there’s plenty of pork crackling, I don’t care what the season is called. As for what the Christians get up to inside their churches, that’s their business. I don’t feel left out in any way.

As patron of the Auckland Regional Migrants Services (Arms) Dame Susan says she agrees with the agency’s policy of avoiding the word Christmas, by referring to “happy holidays” and “season’s greetings” and other euphemisms instead. Arms is planning a “festive lunch” instead of a Christmas lunch, so non-Christians won’t feel excluded.

As one of the 41.9 per cent of New Zealanders who ticked the “no religion” box in the 2013 census, I’ve never felt excluded or ostracised by the use of Christian-based words like Christmas or Easter. Our Northern Hemisphere ancestors were holding festivals to mark the beginning of spring and winter long before this Johnny-come-lately religion appeared on the scene and hijacked the dates. In recent years, the rest of us have been steadily claiming the holidays back.

Nor do I feel isolated by the emergence, in recent times in Auckland, of public celebrations for non-Christian events like Diwali, Matariki and Halloween.

Arms and Dame Susan are well-intentioned, but surely new migrants don’t need protecting from the cultural idiosyncrasies of their new land. Most of them, I suspect, come from countries with a smorgasbord of festivals that leaves our handful looking very miserly.

Read more »

Susan Devoy is pushing to remove “Christmas” from public language


Oh for Christ’s sake… the Barbarians are indeed inside the gates.  And they are us.

A leading Auckland migrant settlement agency is avoiding the word Christmas and will instead be talking about “happy holidays” and “season’s greetings”.

The Auckland Regional Migrant Services (Arms) says it has taken the move so non-Christians and those who do not celebrate Christmas do not feel excluded.

To be multiculturally sensitive, instead of calling its year-end get-together a Christmas lunch, it’s a “festive lunch”. Read more »

Christian Christmas in Crisis

A festive Starbucks Christmas cup before they changed their policy in order to be ' nclusive'

A festive Starbucks Christmas cup before they changed their policy in order to be ‘ inclusive’

Islamisation is a real phenomenon. America and other Western countries have always had a diverse population made up of immigrants but the majority were always Christian. As that changed and countries became more secular Christian symbols for Christian holidays were replaced with Santa and other images that promoted consumerism. Despite that, Christmas trees and the message of joy and peace to the world remained and one very large and well known American business until recently was known for having special takeaway coffee cups with christmas symbols and messages on them until now.

Read more »

Thanks Len: Auckland the fun killers

Len Brown is hell bent on making Aucklanders as miserable as possible.

His clipboard wielding officials are shutting down berm gardens, his rates collectors are reaching deep into our pockets and now he’s being the Grinch and wanting to cancel Christmas.

Once again it is the grinches of Auckland transport.

A community Christmas lights display in south Auckland is under threat of having its plug pulled due to high council fees.

Residents of Karaka Lakes, near Papakura, have accused Auckland Council of dampening their festive cheer by forcing them to spend $5500 on a traffic management plan for visitors driving and walking past their decorated houses.

That was on top of $8000 in fees for a council resource consent to run the event.

Karaka Lakes community group have launched an online Givealittle fundraiser to help save their annual event from being scrapped

By Wednesday afternoon they had raised $640 of their $5500 target.

Residents have run the ‘Light Up Karaka Lakes’ lights competition since 2010.

The event has traditionally involved decorating houses, running free sleigh rides for children and a free musical light show.   Read more »

Invercargill troughers return from China empty handed

It was bizarre that Invercargill City Council had to send three troughers all the way to China to buy Christmas lights in the first place.

They clearly have not heard of AliExpress.

Nonetheless, they went…and came back empty handed.

Three Invercargill City Council staff who went to China to purchase Christmas lights failed to decide what lights they wanted.

The controversial trip, which cost ratepayers more than $21,000, resulted in elected councillors sparking up about the lighting issue at a full council meeting on Tuesday.

Some were in favour of the trip and some weren’t.

Council chief executive Richard King said last week four staff had gone to Invercargill’s sister city, Suqian, with three on the trip to purchase replacement Christmas lights for the CBD.

However, a report to Tuesday’s council meeting by finance director Dean Johnston revealed they had not bought any lights while in China.   Read more »

Welcome to the no fly list

Some people are just jerks.

Like this prick who didn’t want to be wished a Merry Christmas.

Bah, humbug!

A passenger was tossed off a plane at La Guardia Airport on Tuesday after flipping out — because airline workers wished him a merry Christmas.

The man was waiting to board American Airlines Flight 1140 to Dallas when a cheerful gate agent began welcoming everyone with the Yuletide greeting while checking boarding passes.

The grumpy passenger, who appeared to be traveling alone, barked at the woman, “You shouldn’t say that because not everyone celebrates Christmas.”

The agent replied, “Well, what should I say then?”   Read more »

A touching email from a reader

This morning I received this email.

Dear Cam

Before responding privately to your Christmas Message, I wanted to think seriously on the message itself and the import of your experience in Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

Nearly seventy-five years ago, I learned three undeniable Truths:-

1. There are no atheists in a fox-hole

2. No matter how deep you dig the hole, if it has your name on it, it will find you

3. Do not worry.  If it is going to happen, it will happen.  Worrying will not change that.

Sometimes, in the heat of battle, one figure emerges, standing tall above his fellows, who changes the course of the events of the moment.  He is a Hero.  In today’s often hostile political and social environment, you are that hero, standing taller than the rest and for that, I salute you.     Read more »

The Queen’s Christmas Message

In this year’s Christmas Broadcast, commonly known as ‘The Queen’s Speech’, Her Majesty recalls the Christmas truce of 1914 as she speaks of reconciliation and forgiveness.

Face of the day


Alice Wylie

Hi Cam
Merry Christmas to you and the team at Whaleoil.

A follow up from your post 20 November about my neighbour Alice Wylie.
We visited shortly after the incident and I showed her the post on my Ipad as she is not Internet connected.
She was ‘tickled pink’ with the write up and also the comments.
I got the post made into a Christmas card.
Here is a photo with Alice holding her ‘hard copy’ of your post.
SB may consider her for a face of the day?
I can report that Alice has made a stunning recovery and has been overwhelmed with the community support.
Have a good break.


I just want to report that we all here at Whaleoil were grinning from ear to ear when we received the above e-mail.

What a lovely photo.