RIP Joe Cocker

One of my all time favourite artists.

Tributes have begun rolling in for English singer Joe Cocker, who has died aged 70.

Former Beatles drummer Ringo Starr was one of the first to share his sadness at Cocker’s death.

“Goodbye and God bless to Joe Cocker from one of his friends peace and love,” he wrote on Twitter.

Meanwhile actor Val Kilmer also paid his respects on the site.

“Ah. What a mighty mighty original voice is gone. Joe Cocker one of the all time soul of Rock and Roller Kings will be missed forever,” he said in a post.

Cocker’s death followed a struggle with lung cancer.

He is survived by wife Pam, his brother Victor, his step-daughter, Zoey Schroeder and two grandchildren, Eva and Simon Schroeder.

Born in Sheffield in 1944, Cocker rose to success as a blues and rock singer in the 1960s.

His hits included With a Little Help from My Friends, Unchain My Heart, You Are So Beautiful, and the Grammy-winning Up Where We Belong.

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RIP John Matheson


John and Jessica Matheson

Last night I got the terrible news that John Matheson had died.

John worked with me at Truth and was a true professional. Watching him work was a pleasure, but he always had time to shoot the breeze and offer advice. he was the only one in the office to gave me a run for my money on Galaga.

He was a devoted family man, and would often bring his daughter into the office with him.

Such a good bloke and gone too soon.

John had written 22 books including autobiographies for Christian Cullen, Monty Betham, Buck Shelford, Stacy Jones, Sam Malcolmson, Phil Kinglsey Jones and Marg Foster and biographies on Tana Umaga, Dan Carter, Richie McCaw, Sonny Bill Williams, Benji Marshall and Scott Dixon. Other titles include Black Days, the Eric Rush trilogy and Warriors Nation.

He was just 46 years old.  Read more »

Hundreds of strangers flock to Remembrance Day funeral of Bomber Command veteran


Words cannot describe this event…simply outstanding honouring the life of a veteran of WWII.

His death could so easily have been marked with a simple service in an almost empty chapel.

Harold Jellicoe Percival, a last link to the Dambusters raid, never married and had no children. When he died last month aged 99 he had no close friends and it seemed there would be no one to mourn him except a handful of care home staff.

But yesterday, after a newspaper appeal led to an internet campaign highlighting the forgotten war veteran’s case, hundreds of people who never knew him came to pay their respects at his funeral – poignantly held at 11am on Armistice Day.  Read more »

In Memoriam – Mum

Dad and Mum visiting John Key on her last visit to Wellington

A year ago today my Mum passed away. I still miss her terribly.

She was my mother, my friend, my counsel, a wise head to turn to when things were tough. We spoke nearly every day, and she gave me some of my best ideas on the blog and in politics.

No day passes without me thinking about her and what we have lost.

This is what I wrote that terrible day when Dad, Claire and I returned from the hospice in shock.  Read more »

Parekura Horomia has passed away

Parekura Horomia has died this afternoon.

Labour MP Parekura Horomia has died surrounded by his family at his Mangatuna home, aged 62.

The Ikaroa Rawhiti MP was understood to have been unwell for some time, but the cause is not known.

Earlier today, his family issued a statement requesting privacy and saying he was at his Mangatuna home convalescing.  Read more »

Some great Margaret Thatcher quotes

“It will be years – and not in my time – before a woman will lead the party or become prime minister.” – 1974, speech.

“I stand before you tonight in my green chiffon evening gown, my face softly made up, my fair hair gently waved. The Iron Lady of the Western World? Me? A cold war warrior? Well, yes – if that is how they wish to interpret my defence of values and freedoms fundamental to our way of life.” – 1976, speech after Moscow dubbed her the Iron Lady.

“No one would have remembered the good Samaritan if he’d only had good intentions. He had money as well.” – 1980, interview.

“If a woman like Eva Peron with no ideals can get that far, think how far I can go with all the ideals that I have.” – 1980, interview.

“To those waiting with bated breath for that favourite media catchphrase, the U-turn, I have only one thing to say, you turn if you want to. The lady’s not for turning.” – 1980, Conservative party conference.

“We knew what we had to do and we went about it and did it. Great Britain is great again.” – 1982, after the end of the Falklands conflict.

“This is a man I can do business with.” – 1984, after her first meeting with Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev.

“I owe nothing to women’s lib.” – 1982, interview.

“We are simply asking to have our own money back.” – 1984, demanding a budget rebate for Britain at a European Union summit.

“I think, historically, the term ‘Thatcherism’ will be seen as a compliment.” – 1985, speech.

“There is no such thing as Society. There are individual men and women, and there are families.” – 1987, interview.

“I don’t mind how much my ministers talk, as long as they do what I say.” – 1987, interview.

“I was told beforehand my arrival was unscheduled, but on the way here I passed a local cinema and it turns out you were expecting me after all. The billboard read The Mummy Returns.” – 2001, speech at a Conservative general election, her first since 1987


I will mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy – Martin Luther King

Twitter is so instant, so unredacted and so raw, you get to see right inside people.

Here is a selection of how the news that Thatcher died unfolded in the minds of some people we know.

Warning:  It’s not pretty.



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Margaret Thatcher 1925-2013 RIP

Britain’s greatest peace time Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher has died.


Baroness Thatcher, Britain’s greatest post-war prime minister, has died at the age of 87 after suffering a stroke, her family has announced.

Her son, Sir Mark, and daughter Carol confirmed that she died this morning.

Lord Bell, her spokesman, said: “It is with great sadness that Mark and Carol Thatcher announced that their mother Baroness Thatcher died peacefully following a stroke this morning.A further statement will be made later.”

Lady Thatcher died at the Ritz hotel at about 11am after suffering a stroke. Her children were not at her bedside as they were abroad. Her doctor and carer were there when she died.

Buckingham Palace said the Queen was saddened by the news.

David Cameron, the Prime Minister, said: “We’ve lost a great prime minister, a great leader, a great Briton.  Read more »

A Poem for a Soldier

Further to my earlier post about Harry Honnor, I have received a few emails. Included was the photo below of Harry Honnor at Nui Dat, two days before The Battle of Long Tan.

Harry Honnor at Nui Dat, Vietnam - Supplied

Harry Honnor at Nui Dat, Vietnam – Supplied

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Sir Paul Holmes has died

Broadcasting legend Sir Paul Holmes has died this morning:


Sir Paul Holmes, the controversial broadcaster with the cheeky grin and quick wit, has died at home, surrounded by family.

Holmes’ family issued a statement at 9.30am.

“Sir Paul Holmes passed away peacefully early this morning surrounded by his family at home in Hawkes Bay, as he wished to be.

“Sir Paul had been in poor health since having heart surgery earlier in the year. In recent months he had also been suffering from a resurgence of prostate cancer.  Read more »