John Kirwan

Oh dear, look who is at the bottom of the list

Readers Digest has released their “Most Trusted” list of Kiwis…and predictably Willie Apiata is at the top of the list.

Politicians are as trustworthy as sex workers and Willie Apiata, VC, is – again – the most trusted of all New Zealanders, according to an annual survey on the country’s most trusted people and professions.

The 10th annual New Zealand Reader’s Digest Trust Survey revealed a skew towards sports stars and emergency service workers as those whom Kiwis put the most faith in.

Mr Apiata took out the top spot as the most trusted of 100 well-known Kiwis, followed by Northland doctor and champion of Maori health care Lance O’Sullivan and All Blacks captain Richie McCaw.

But look who is at the bottom of the list:

99. Kim Dotcom, internet entrepreneur
100. Hone Harawira, Mana Party leader

Read more »

Stephen Fry – Only the Lonely

Stephen Fry has written on his blog about his attempt to commit suicide last year.

There isn’t any point in denying that the outburst of sympathy and support that followed my confession to an attempt at self-slaughter last year (Richard Herring podcast) has touched me very deeply.

Some people, as some people always will, cannot understand that depression (or in my case cyclothymia, a form of bipolar disorder) is an illness and they are themselves perhaps the sufferers of a malady that one might call either an obsession with money, or a woeful lack of imagination.

“How can someone so well-off, well-known and successful have depression?” they ask. Alastair Campbell in a marvelous article, suggested changing the word “depression” to “cancer” or “diabetes” in order to reveal how, in its own way, sick a question, it is. Ill-natured, ill-informed, ill-willed or just plain ill, it’s hard to say.

Depression is something that no one can really understand until they have experienced it. People think that depression is a feeling of deep sadness…for me it is not anything like that at all.

But, most people, a surging, warm, caring majority, have been kind. Almost too kind. There’s something a little flustering and embarrassing when a taxi-driver shakes you by the hand, looks deep into your eyes and says “You look after yourself, mate, yes? Promise me?” And there’s something perhaps not too helpful to one’s mental health when it is the only subject people want to talk to you about, however kindly or for whatever reasons.   Read more »

Federated Farmers supporting a major programme to tackle depression among rural people


As is often the way in blogging, when there is something current, like David Fisher attacking me for being honest about my depression, along comes other news that supports the point I was trying to make.

There are those out there, like David Fisher, who think that depression is just something that we need to harden up over…take a few pills, stop having a sook and move along.   Read more »

Mad Morgan now wants to exterminate Phoenix Fans

Not content with giving those left in his under-performing KiwiSaver fund reasons to ditch it, New Zealand’s foremost economist, philanthropist, soccer coach extraordinaire, feeder of orca and killer of cats, Gareth Morgan, has decided to shoot his other foot off.

The customer is always right Gareth? Apparently not with Morgan who has labelled Phoenix fans “pathetic” and unsophisticated because they want their team to stop being the A-League’s ‘open goal’.

If only the Dom Post had their sports writers doing the news because they would blow Kim DotCon sky high but then again, the sports writers got this by that time honoured tradition of listening to Radio Sport:

“The A-League club’s co-owner, who has admitted in the past that his football knowledge is limited, has also claimed that many fans “don’t know much about the game anyway” and are only thinking about themselves, rather than the long-term viability of the club.”

Good one Gareth. After wanting to exterminate half of your fan’s pets, you now call them drongos for paying good money in other to see their (or rather ‘your’) team get thrashed. You should become a motivational speaker:

“Morgan let rip at fans for wanting “instant gratification”. He said the club’s change in football philosophy, to a more attractive, possession-based passing style, was required for success in the long-term.

No, not if you a). Not have any fans, b). right-size to a public park to fit attendance and c). have decent players avoiding your LOSER team like the plague.

The DomPost says the Phoenix have struggled with this shift, “bizarrely implemented mid-season, and are last”.

Maybe someone ought to remind Morgan what Wellington said of the French after Waterloo (the last time the French put up a decent scrap), “They came on in the same old way and we defeated them in the same old way:”

“But Morgan said they would not be reverting back to their former style, which was based on solid defence and getting balls into the box from the flanks, for the sake of results. Fans would have to put up with “short-term pain”. The bigger picture is far, far more important than the short term,” he said”.

Sir John Kirwan should now send the Blues wooden spoon to the Hurricanes’ Mark Hammett (who must be searching for a new role) given St Gareth used his gains from flogging ‘his’ fund to KiwiBank, to get a slice of the Canes.

I pity the punters who pay money for merchandise, tickets or even, buying a sponsor’s product:

“All some people do is look at the league tables and that’s all there is to the game for them. Well, they’re pathetic really.”

Then again, Gareth threw a wobbly at Morningstar for calling a spade a spade on this erratic clown’s KiwiSaver Fund. St Gareth doesn’t like league tables indeed he is allergic to them maybe because it is about accountability.

“People expect instant gratification or gain with no pain. It’s just pathetic really. I can’t think of any activity where you change like that and there’s not a short-term cost as you go through the changes.”

How about your philanthropic trips abroad, TV appearances, mad schemes to ensure we get overrun by rats and stoats, spending vast sums to fatten up Penguins, calling farmers ‘retards’ and wanting to form Gareth Morgan Farmers to rival Feds. That sounds a lot like “instant gratification” to me.

But he is not done. He goes onto trash the Club’s few remaining supporters as ‘thick’ and somehow thinks ‘his way’ will attract a new wave of supporters. Yeah the opposition to see how much they’ll win by. Can I humbly suggest he actually leaves the coaches to coach and the players to play:

“Fans are a cross section of the public, you know. A lot of them don’t know much about the game anyway and certainly, in my view, think only of themselves, not about the future of the club. This club has got a whole lot of stuff to do in order to be sustainable, and that’s what we’re going to do.”

This little angry man has a Caesar complex. Maybe we should introduce him to Michael Williams in Auckland – I think they would get on like a house on fire.

I never thought I would write this but “Bring back Terry”.

Cartoon of the Day

ᔥ the tipline

Tom Scott is in fine form:


ᔥ NZ Herald

So John Kirwan has been appointed as coach of the Blues…I’m still not sure about the wisdom of JK coaching a team named after the euphemism for depression, but there you go.

At least now they will have HOPE.



Tom Scott on the QB Honours

Face of the Day

The Rugby Honours list?

The Queens Birthday Honours list has been released.

When reading through this list via No Right Turn I was gobsmacked at how many Rugby connected people have received awards…with the exception of John Kirwan…who has received his award for services to mental health.

The other thing I noticed was how many people who received awards had previously received awards….have they done more? I doubt it.

There are two very poor awards in my opinion. The awarding of a knighthood to Michael Cullen. This is outrageous. This man falsified a PREFU, he his a $1 billion deficit in ACC, bought a clapped out train set for another $1 billion when it was worth about $350 million and left this country saddled with the prospect of 10 years of deficits. He should be given something more appropriate…like herpes…in recognition of his achievements.

The other egregious and shameless pandering to the ordinary was the awarding of Simon Power a QSO. He was a minister for just 3 years, an MP for a short amount of time and did more harm than good. He deserves nothing than the pay he received in performing those tasks so poorly. The Queens Service Order is for Service…getting paid to do your job isn’t service.

There are many, many more people out there who have given a lifetime of service and done it all for no pay or recompense. The places taken up by civil servants and politicians in the honours list demeans their efforts.

Understanding Depression

Regular readers know that I have had and continue to battle depression. I have also found that talking about ti honestly helps leave a breadcrumb trail for others to to follow so that they can seek help for their own battles.

I know that the trail works because I regularly get emails from people thanking me for sharing my stories about depression and sharing about how I came off anti-depressants. Each of us who has spoken publicly, people like John Kirwan and Mike King all help in their own way to assisting people with depression understand and overcome and mitigate the debilitating effects of depression.

I have been thinking over the holiday period about writing some more about the issues but i hadn’t quite worked out the shape of what i would write. As is often the way when I am researching about something a blog post elsewhere pops up and says what i want to say for me.

And so it was that I saw on Andrew Sullivan’s blog his snip from Jenny Lawson’s blog post about her battles:

I wrote this post a month ago, but I couldn’t bring myself to post it then.  I was too weak from fighting to shout, and so instead I whispered this into the night and left it unpublished until I felt like I could speak to it with the battle-cry it deserves.  Years ago, coming out about depression and anxiety disorder was something frightening, but now people are more honest and open and so much of the shame has dissipated.  We may not have pink ribbons or telethons but we know that someone out there understands.  That is, until we’re honest about how it affects us.  I’ve never written about this because I can’t talk about it without it being a trigger but I think it’s important to be honest even when it’s scary.  Especially when it’s scary.

But Jenny said so much more and it resonates with me, and so I will share it too:

When cancer sufferers fight, recover, and go into remission we laud their bravery.  We call them survivors.  Because they are.

When depression sufferers fight, recover and go into remission we seldom even know, simply because so many suffer in the dark…ashamed to admit something they see as a personal weakness…afraid that people will worry, and more afraid that they won’t.  We find ourselves unable to do anything but cling to the couch and force ourselves to breathe.

When you come out of the grips of a depression there is an incredible relief, but not one you feel allowed to celebrate.  Instead, the feeling of victory is replaced with anxiety that it will happen again, and with shame and vulnerability when you see how your illness affected your family, your work, everything left untouched while you struggled to survive.  We come back to life thinner, paler, weaker…but as survivors.  Survivors who don’t get pats on the back from coworkers who congratulate them on making it.  Survivors who wake to more work than before because their friends and family are exhausted from helping them fight a battle they may not even understand.

Regardless, today I feel proud.  I survived.  And I celebrate every one of you reading this.  I celebrate the fact that you’ve fought your battle and continue to win.  I celebrate the fact that you may not understand the battle, but you pick up the baton dropped by someone you love until they can carry it again.  I celebrate the fact that each time we go through this, we get a little stronger.  We learn new tricks on the battlefield.  We learn them in terrible ways, but we use them.  We don’t struggle in vain.

We win.

We are alive.

It is now just over a year since I came through the roughest time of my life. The toughest time wasn’t being depressed, it was coming off the medication and all the side effects both physical and mentally that are associated with that. I have done a lot of rough and tumble things in my life. I have jumped from airplanes, out the back of Hercules, from helicopters, I have tramped, hunted, fallen off cliffs into rivers, white water rafted, kayaked, waveskiid and surfed, i nearly drowned once swimming across an estuary but none of those things were as tough coming off anti-depressants.

But as Jenny says above, I won and I am alive.

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