End Of 2010 Report

Keywords: Miscellaneous;

A quick run down as 2010 turns into 2011; another long year which passed quickly.

I used my NZIER award to spend a fortnight in China (a follow up on the globalisation project) which led to five Listener columns [1]. So I got a grant from the Asia NZ Foundation to spend a fortnight in India (ditto); five columns will be published next year. I’ve put the travelogue on the website [2]. I am subject to incipient gout, which attacked me with a vengeance in India  (spices? lentils?). I’d have been crawling on the floor without assistance from Elizabeth who was with me, an excellent doctor in Delhi, and wheelchairs. Also a quick trip to Barcelona for a conference; unfortunately too many of its art galleries were closed.

You can get an idea of my work for the year from the website. I am especially proud of an account of the political economy based on cheese [3,4];  the paper on regulatory failure arising out of the leaky homes debacle [5]; contributions to Te Ara, the electronic encyclopaedia of NZ [6,7]; and a host of items on the state and prospects of the NZ economies which have been about as successful as Cassandra  at influencing the conventional wisdom [8]. What the CW does not realise is that my thinking is based on an almost 40 year old evolving and empirically driven research program, including a knowledge of past long recessions. [9] And I am proud to have played a small part in the Human Rights Commission winning a case (three times)involving the rights of caring parents of handicapped adult children; Dad would have been so pleased. [10, 11]

What is not on the website is that I have been progressing the history of New Zealand – 110,000 words up to 1918. The super news is that I have a substantial award from the New Zealand History Trust to take the story up to 1966 – I will be under pressure throughout 2011 to achieve the target. (I should also admit to having got carried away last January (2010) I wrote a memoir as a recreational break. It consists of Listener columns each followed  by a essay on its context, in a sequence which tells the story of my professional life. Dont worry about defamation or you being misrepresented; it’s unpublishable at 150,000 words, but I think it interesting.)

I could say I am still living by myself, but I have been joined since May by a friend’s affectionate three year old cat Lady Lupi. (Wish she would stop cuddling me while I am at the keyboard.) As you can expect, we have a disagreement as to the future of the house. Its backrooms are steadily being converted into a library of obscure but well-loved books which friends store there; Lupi, on the other hand, thinks the house would make a good animal cemetery, and regularly brings in specimens – not always dead.

Lupi is Mary Caffin’s cat; I see a lot of Elizabeth and try to be supportive as she struggles with her 94 year old mother; we also go to the theatre, music and openings a lot.

Anita had an operation to remove the tumour from the pituitary gland; she is much better, but they did not get it all. Despite the medical challenges she is continuing her very successful career as a consultant in information management. She is currently touring Vietnam. Tama and Heather have settled down in their house in Nelson; Tama has had a few medical mishaps too, but seems to have got over them. Both are working for the Tasman District Council; Heather with children in its library; Tama runs their website.  He’s out biking somewhere in the wilderness. Got to Nelson twice this year. The Christchurch family seems to have survived the earthquake with but broken crockery and the like, but the continuing tremors remain unnerving.

Next year? The focus is on the history, but I may also curate an exhibition for the NZ Portrait Gallery. Trip to a conference in San Francisco in February; be out of the country for the World Cup (expect to make a fortune hiring the house out to rugger buggers – for advertising purposes we are renaming the vacant section at the end of the street ‘Eden Park’).

[1] http://www.eastonbh.ac.nz/?p=1364

[2] http://www.eastonbh.ac.nz/?p=1400

[3] http://www.eastonbh.ac.nz/?p=1390

[4] http://www.eastonbh.ac.nz/?p=1386

[5] http://www.eastonbh.ac.nz/?p=1097

[6] http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/economic-history

[7] http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/income-and-wealth-distribution

[8] see http://www.eastonbh.ac.nz/?cat=19

[9] http://www.eastonbh.ac.nz/?p=1101

[10] http://www.eastonbh.ac.nz/?p=1396

[11] http://www.eastonbh.ac.nz/?p=1393