#86: Country Road, Take Me Home

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Edge Message #86 from Brian Sweeney, producer NZEDGE.COM

Aotearoa whanau whanui ki te Aonui
Global Community of New Zealanders


Roxburgh-born forensic science pioneer Sydney Alfred Smith (1883-1969) achieved world renown through the application of science to justice. From the edge of an Otago goldfield to the telling edge of a murder weapon, Smith learnt to read the stories of dead men – and in doing so changed the way crime was investigated and solved.

Acknowledged internationally as a groundbreaking authority, he wrote a textbook, “Forensic Medicine: A Guide for Students and Practitioners” (1925), which is still widely quoted today (for example, in analysis of the Kennedy assassination). His autobiography, “Mostly Murder”, was acclaimed for the vivid, vital language he used to describe his work, and went into numerous editions. Smith was knighted in 1949 and received honorary doctorates from the Universities of Edinburgh and Louvain. 3,200 words. Story by Ingrid Horrocks.

A principal interpretation of the edge metaphor is that of seeking competitive advantage – in business, in technology, in creativity, in sport. How to win, and how to sustain winning. Here’s a sprinkling of edge metaphors in media commentaries on the America’s Cup, the finals of which commence Sunday morning NZ time in Valencia, Spain, between the holders, Alinghi of Switzerland, and Emirates Team New Zealand. “The America’s Cup represents the leading edge of yachting design.” “It is the nature of the beast that once that edge is gained – there is no second.” “These boats and crews have been honed to a razor edge in these trials.” (And a dozen more).

New Zealanders featuring in this week’s survey of global media including LA Times, Forbes, AdAge, New York magazine,Campaign Brief, USA Today, Reuters, The Guardian, The Age, The Times and National Public Radio include: Team New Zealand, the All Blacks, Xero, Dave Jenkins of SurfAid, triathlete Samantha Warriner, singer Annie Crummer, film star Witarina Harris (d. 101), late Balibo cameraman Gary Cunningham, Janet Frame, novelist Lloyd Jones, director Jane Campion, HBO humorists Flight of the Conchords, auto leader Wade Thompson, nude Elave, NZ film, Antipodes water, pavlova, Nelson’s Ngati Koata, NZ dialects, Tourism NZ and Google Earth, Fletcher Building.

June 15 and 17 mark the birthdays of two New Zealanders whose international achievements influenced the course of history, and who feature in the nzedge.com Heroes section.

Born in Thames 115 years ago on June 15, and educated at Otago Boys High School, Keith Park was Commander of the Royal Air Force during the Allied evacuation from Dunkirk, and led the defense of London and southern England from German bombing raids during the Battle of Britain. Of Keith Park, the Chief of the RAF said: “If any one man won the Battle of Britain, he did. I do not believe it is realised how much that one man, with his leadership, his calm judgement and his skill, did to save, not only this country, but the world.”

Harold Gillies was born 125 years ago in Dunedin on June 17, was a student at Wanganui Collegiate, and studied medicine at Cambridge University. World War 1 was a challenge to surgeons and a new type of surgery was needed. Realising this need, a young surgeon began performing operations which involved rebuilding the face by taking tissue from other parts of the body. This surgeon was Harold Gillies, and by the end of the war some 11,000 patients had passed through his hands. His 1920 textbook “Plastic Surgery of the Face” set down the principles of modern plastic surgery which were adopted by surgeons the world over.

The pillage of our rugby players by the northern hemisphere is the single biggest threat we have faced since the game went professional. The NZRU’s challenge now is to adjust to this new reality of French/English clubs throwing money and lifestyle promises at our players and to do this we’ll need a combination of new revenue, new strategy, new ideas, and new initiatives. An eight-point plan relating to building annual revenue, new sponsors, new revenue models, new marketing and merchandising, new competitions, skills and expertise, squad development, and out-competing England and France.

The process of going and coming from New Zealand is a very individual one that can often be fraught, as new research by Naomi Walter of Waikato University reveals. Her paper An investigation into travellers repatriating to New Zealand, having completed their OE, “investigates the in-depth personal experiences of returned OE travellers in terms of their transition to home; explores possible explanations for the varying levels of distress among repatriates; and considers how the transition from overseas to home can perhaps be made smoother for future generations of returning OE travellers.” The paper explores “reverse culture shock” – “the psychological, physical and emotional symptoms of feeling like a foreigner in [one’s] own country” (Hurn, 1999), and is generally unanticipated by the returnee and those at home.

As the basis for another research project, Kaye Thorn of Massey University says that up to 24 percent of New Zealand-born people live in another OECD country. “Factors influencing a decision to live and work in another place are multi-faceted and complex. The factors involved are career, economics, cultural and travel opportunities, the political environment, quality of life and relationships.” An online survey taking no more than 20 minutes is seeking at least 1000 participants to drill into these factors. Respondees so far have included New Zealanders living in Bermuda, Indonesia and Kenya.

The education resources and usages of nzedge.com; role modelling and “virtual mentoring”; school kits on suffragist Kate Sheppard and mathematician Alexander Aitken, homework on Katherine Mansfield, a class study of Jean Batten, an essay on Ernest Rutherford; “Hi, I am a 10 year old girl and I have found this site really good for class assignments and for learning about the people who have helped make this country respected around the world. Well done in doing this, you are keeping the dream alive” (Christchurch).

A drive through New Jersey triggers thinking about the success of design-led Scandinavian countries; winning the world from the edge; opportunities for New Zealand in food and beverage, fashion and apparel, digital and web; exporting being New Zealand’s sole economic imperative; the need for New Zealand touchpoints in key global locations; Export Decade; the need for a juiced-up integrated marketing campaign for New Zealand trade in global business and consumer media; extreme export stories; people as our greatest export; and international value-creation wherever New Zealanders are, home and away.

Thumbnail: Horizons at Mt Maunganui

Good wishes to all nzedge.com subscribers throughout the world and in New Zealand.

Brian Sweeney

http://www.nzedge.com brian@nzedge.com


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