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My grandfather was a Nazi?!

If, like me, you still retain an interest in aspects of the Nazi 1000 Year Reich which, thank God, lasted only 10, you may find this book as compelling as I did.  ‘The Perfect Nazi’  by Martin P. Davidson tells the absolutely true story of one young German man who embraced Nazism and everything Adolf Hitler stood for, with extreme enthusiasm.

perfect-naziHe progressed through the 1920’s and 1930’s to become an officer of middle rank in first the SA and later the SS. What makes this book special is that is written by the SS officers grandson, a Scotsman and senior executive of the BBC, who always knew his maternal grandfather was German but knew almost nothing of his frightful life.

Martin Davidson, the grandson, decided to find out, once and for all, about his now deceased grandfather. And so he did. With considerable research, delving into the records, films, diaries etc. covering that dreadful two and a half decades of violence, hysteria, rhetoric, dictatorship, fear and loathsome anti-Semitism, resulting in the so called Final Solution, the whole brief history of Nazi Germany is laid open in the life of this one man. It is a searingly honest attempt to discover what motivated and to some extent explained the attitudes and behaviour of a very typical family man and SS officer. It paints a compelling picture of how Hitler and his ludicrous – where they were not horrifyingly criminal – ideas seduced a generation, enabling those ideas to be put speedily and efficiently onto action.

The Perfect Nazi is a compelling read and perhaps an eye opener for the younger reader for whom Hitler and the Second World War are just history.

– Larry Gordon

What if you witnessed a crime but couldn’t remember…?

‘The girl on the train’ by Paula Hawkins is suspense fiction that will keep you guessing til the end.  Written in a similar style to ‘Gone Girl’, with flashbacks between past and present, the plotline was peppered with red herrings all the way through.

Rachel is a woman who spends her days travelling back and forth on the train, pretending to go to work, so that her landlady doesn’t discover that she is jobless.  She spends her days in an alcoholic haze, trying to get over the loss of her marriage two years ago.  Her only entertainment is imagining the lives of the people she sees from the train, and in particular, a couple she calls Jess and Jason.  From her view into the back of the house, she has only ever witnessed loving exchanges until the day she see’s Jess kissing another man in the garden.

Soon after, Rachel reads in the newspaper that Megan (Jess) has been missing for a week, and her husband Scott (Jason) is distraught. She tells the police about the other man but he is dismissed as a suspect, so Rachel decides to investigate on her own. She worms her way into both men’s lives, only to discover that things are not what they seemed.

In the meantime, she is constantly plagued by alcoholic blackouts where she can’t remember what has happened. One of these occurred on the night that Megan disappeared, and Rachel knows that she witnessed something important but what? To complicate things, her ex-husband and his new wife (who live nearby Megan and Scott) are threatening to report her to the police for harassment, and she really doesn’t know what is real and what is imagined.

Throughout the novel, the author manipulates the reader’s emotions  by constantly switching up points of view so that you aren’t quite sure who to root for – is Rachel a good person or not? Did she actually see something or not?  You’ll have to read it to find out…. 


– Natalie


FLUSHING – poetry compt. entry 2016



Yesterday, I flushed my mood

down the toilet and watched as ugly stains

diffused across ceramic.

They were slightly viscose and definitely not

what I’d wish to show my in-laws, or future boss,

or even myself.


I make a habit of this bathroom drama.

Every so often,

when the bile catches in my throat,

or my pleasant demeanor

becomes faintly pinched ;

or I hear my phone beep emails I am dreading,

or texts from dreary friends with little to do in their lives

but pester people doing less, I feel it:

feel my mood going slightly sour.

Just a faint whiff, mind you,

but that becomes compounded with a depressed compressor.

(Apparently something to do with a car,

but I know nothing about such things,

only that they cost more than my budget allows

and take a depressingly long time to fix

and I’m stuck with stick-shift gears that no one

who is not a hundred and two can possibly manage.)

Yes, I feel it,

that transient change

from gritty to grimy,

chirpy to cheerless.

I feel it first as a grey aura,

but I’m told grey is the new black, and if that is so,

its probably more of an unseemly pea green.

It’s nothing that anyone who is sensible can find convivial,flushing-loo

or even on the outer fringes of fashionable.

It becomes opaque,

thick enough to choke if I did not shake myself and tell myself sternly

that it is time for the toilet.

I’ve been flushing my moods for rather a long time, now.

It started with second hand cigarette fumes in my mother’s car.

I still see it, the remnants of forty cigs a day,

smashed and smoking in a tray of ash the size of a tiny fist. I

don’t think it was ever emptied, but it must have been,

because the next day another forty materialized,

to be battered deliberately into the grill,

just the stumps and the ash and  hopeful embers.

Spiraling streams

of lucky-last smoke and tears in my eyes and my lungs.

My ears fare no better. Alternate orifices

for the smoke and the sourness,

latching on to the endless jingles

of the hissing radio,

stuck somewhere between two stations,

each more insanely boring

and intensely invasive than the next.

The adverts, so asinine,

used to slither into the cornerstones of my consciousness

and play games

up there, repeating themselves endlessly.

I am just a vacant vehicle.

That is,

until I get into the habit of firmly flushing

unwanted sentiments

down the rose marble toilet.

Not nice, but nothing deposited there is nice,

I maintain,

so surely it serves as a respectable

receptacle for my thoughts?

I hate watching the last edges of slime on paper,

but when it’s gone,

the bowl is clean

and my mood is once more fresh.


© Hayley Solomon

THE POTTER SHAPES THE CLAY : poetry compt. entry 2016

The Potter Shapes the Clay


The potter shapes the clay

Firm hands moulding

Smoothing, folding

Imbuing their creation

With raw imagination

The potter shapes the clay.


The painter shapes the colours

Turning hue into form

A blank space they transform

Sharing their unique view

With just yellow, red and blue

The painter shapes the colours.


The singer shapes the melodypottery-51

Sweet voice soaring

Demanding, imploring

Emotion from sound

Expression profound

The singer shapes the melody.


The poet shapes unreality

Lending subtle wonder

Tearing the mundane asunder

Speaking to the heart

Touching the soul through their art

The poet shapes unreality.


© Becky-Ellen Johnson

A SONNET : poetry compt. entry 2016

A sonnet
All summer we careened all over the island in clapped-out cars
down dusty caminos. Caught saffron sunsets at perilous addresses
Turn left at the gold boulder, follow the road til the hairpin corner
We’re the big villa over the cliffs – you’ll hear the drum n bass.
Curated chimeric outfits, violent lipstick, draped ourselves in scowls
swoons and cigarettes. Screamed todo verano, hierbas con hielo, Ibizacruising-beach
Eivissa, I’ll be there, No hay de que! Jumped from the rocks into the
blue. Cocooned now in the nest of my only jersey, I grip the wheel, watch
wipers lance mucous rain. Reverse, First, Indicate, Away. Skirt
the gluey swap, skim the muslin-fogged coast, stall at the bay
where we skinny-dipped in the light of a cocktail tray moon. Some say
it could snow. My Fiat groans with neglect, scowls at winter beaches
below: a mess of Medusas, Men O War: the ocean’s ghosts
Keep driving, keep breathing, this was never your home.


© Annabel Wilson

SANDCASTLE CITY : poetry compt. entry 2016

Sandcastle City


The beach holds stories that are hidden,

In the footprints and trails that have once been in the sand,

Some forever held secret and forbidden,

A city born, if the owners, could claim back a bit of beach land.


A metropolis of sandcastles on the beach,

Aborigines, explorers, tourists and locals as dwellers,sandcastle-city

Pristine sea views all within reach,

Those who live here are happy fellers.


For some it’s their first return in centuries or years,

For a few, they won’t be back and their time is done,

Coz memories cause them pain and tears,

Many come here often for the sheer joy and fun.


Those who tread the beach years before,

In bathing caps and knee length bathers,

Can scarcely believe they’re here once more,

Changes abound from modern day surfboards to lifesavers.


Sometimes the beach attracts high class heels and dressed up dolls,

However most beachgoers are egalitarian whom you meet,

With steps taken in tramping boots and cushioned soles,

But mainly in thongs and by unclad feet.


There are languages aplenty as the beachgoers talk,

Some cannot leave footprints in the sand,

They’re for the time disabled or sick and cannot walk,

It’s a city diverse in the guys and gals on the land.



The distant lights of cargo ships light the night sky,

An extra twinkle for lovers in their sandcastle bed,

Either shacked up for a night and their lives seem a lie,

Or true to one another and they are or may be wed.


Council Officers often screen and patrol the beach,

Enforce signs limiting activities and stating what’s off bounds,

They’ll be onto you if you don’t comply, like a ready leech,

Scavenging seagulls are preferred to unleashed hounds.


Nature rules the beach, with seabirds galore,

They chirp and cheep, squawk and squeak,

And can be hard to hear above the ocean’s roar,

As the waves pound, the loudest shrill pales to weak.


The tide comes in, there’s relentless wind and rain,

Except for fresh seabird steps, the footprints are washed away,

The beach is more akin to nature and sandcastles don’t remain,

But the beach is still on the minds of many, every single day.


© Sheryll Mitchell

MOKO WAHINE : poetry compt. entry 2016

Moko Wahine


Woman of the deep drawn

Breath, the long umbilical line

Nga Hau E Wha, STAND!


Your feathers and woven

coverings address you


Fetch your hair, Nga Hau E Whawahine

Those lustrous coils you cut as one

would cut wheat. My eye follows

their spiral ghosts inwards, marks

the intricate pattern at your shoulders

about your strong thighs


Your numerous children

honour you, Nga Hau E Wha

You taught them the stars

Your hands were their shelter


Woman of the deep drawn breathe

We dance the turning of the year

We are the babes left at your doorstep

Woman of the Four Winds

Nga Hau E Wha


© Jenny Dobson

Eketahuna Library – Janice Percy : Retirement

Janice Percy

Janice Percy

Today, Friday 7 October 2016, I retire from the Eketahuna Library/Service Centre. I have thoroughly enjoyed the time I have spent working here, firstly relieving for the Service Centre and then job sharing for the combined Library/ Service Centre/ Money Exchange. Through my job I have got to mix with a great bunch of people, the customers coming in the door ( young and old), TDC staff and, on occasion, a great bunch of Librarians from the other Libraries in the Eastern and Central region. From my early days of making a cuppa and serving it to the Community Board members in bone china teacups, through painting dragons, fairies etc to decorate for the summer Reading programmes, to the more everyday matters of dog registrations and rates  and pot holes in our metal road, the work has been varied and interesting.

I know that the time is right to retire but still have no doubt that I will miss you all. I will still frequent the Library and continue to live in Eketahuna so will still be in touch. Thanks and Goodbye.

– Janice Percy




District Librarian Heather Taylor (left) and Janice

District Librarian Heather Taylor (left) and Janice

Jackie Hitt (Human Resources) presenting flowers to Janice

CEO Blair King and Janice


FLYING BANANA SKIN : poetry compt. entry 2016

Flying banana skin

Alternative title: ‘Dad, I just wanna say’


Why do you lie to me?

I know you know.

In fact, I know that you know that I know

But still you won’t budge,

Won’t give up the theatre,

This fully formed manikin of your offspring

That lives off an umbilical cord connected directly to your brain

Feeding solely off a diet of expectation and hope,

Yours. Yours.

This being that you’ve made in your own image, who has grown with me,

Alongside me a Ghost twin, our paths never meeting,

Seldom crossing but only for a weekend in a hotel lobby in Arcadia.



He says “don’t worry, you’ll find a nice lady one day.”

But I know the “you” is for ‘I’ and the “worry” is his.

His voice trembles ever so slightly, the way it does when he tells a joke.father-son-walking

But he’s not telling a joke. The joke is a mask.

He knows. He knows, but it’s out of his control.

It scares him, because it’s out of his control.

He stumbles, he demands to be back in control, even if only to himself,

Even if the car has no driver, even though it has no engine,

Even if he’s wrong, even if it’s not his place.

“You will.” He words it as a statement.

He says it as a command. He’s in control,

If only to himself.



I am not what you expected,

When the nurse told you you were having a boy,

I am not what you expected.

Time and again I have defied your expectation. Rugby, rowing,

Agriculture, fighting, farm. Time and again,

And you showed your disappointment (even though

It was selfish of you, even though it wasn’t your place).

But not this time– Where is your disappointment?

Where is your no-nonsense rhetoric?

Where is your acknowledgement?

Or is acknowledgement of your disappointment the first step to its becoming reality?

And so you do not acknowledge it?

Is this going too far? Am I straying from ‘unexpected’ to ‘shameful’?

Why won’t you open your mouth?



(He doesn’t know it but I obsess over his words, and all I ask is for good words.)



He thinks Donald Trump would be a good president,

He supports Donald Trump.

We don’t always see eye-to-eye.

He doesn’t believe in white privilege,

He is happy when they employ a white man (not a Maori) on our farm.

We don’t always see eye-to-eye.

He thinks city people are living in a dream,

He is bored of the city.

We don’t always see eye-to-eye.

He is not like me, but we are similar.

We don’t always see eye-to-eye

But our eyes are the same.



Why won’t you?

Why won’t you acknowledge this? Why do you refuse, with silence, to validate my


Is this chunk too big to fit through the tiny holes in your sieve of expectation?

Why won’t you let it dissolve?

See, I don’t care about finding a nice lady, heck I don’t even care about finding a nice man.

I just need to be happy in myself, and I want you to be there

With me.


Cut the umbilical cord,

Let the manikin float off into dark space,

Move into this reality.



©  Charlie Pearson

THE JOURNEY : poetry compt. 2016

The Journey

Rotating crush of the earths core

a grinding heat

rupturing the broken surface

escaping heat condenses


Preparing to soar

ever conjoining clouds


erupting rain”


© Callile Bouzaid

THE BALLAD OF JACK DAILEY : poetry compt. entry 2016



They found him out-back, on an off-the-road track,

A man from the city it seemed.

A man so near death that they all held their breath,

Until the winged Doctor had been.

When the stranger came to he signed onto the crew,

Jack Dailey, he said, was his name.

Well the boss was short-handed, and set a high standard,

The station’s stud stock was it’s fame.


He’s a man of myst’ry, a man with no hist’ry,

A stranger from out of the blue.

Where he’s from, no one knows, and as you’d suppose,

To his real name they haven’t a clue.


Jack worked like one driven at each task he was given,

For loafing he had only scorn.

Then the work was all done, and the crew had some fun.

In the morning Jack Dailey was gone.

Then they heard word of Jack, on a place further back

But he’d moved on, and word spread about.

Where the work’s hard and tough, when the going gets rough

Jack’s sure to be there helping out.


Jack Dailey, Jack Dailey, never long in one place,jackaroo

They all know your name, but so few know your face.

Jack Dailey, Jack Dailey, oh how will you end?

You court death and danger, a man with few friends.


A cow and new calf, held away from the mob

In a stockyard while branding was done

And the boss’s child laughed, reaching out for the calf.

The cow charged to save her young one.

A bright splash of colour caught Jack Dailey’s eye,

He saw the child’s peril and ran.

He vaulted the rails and he snatched up the boy,

And flung him safe to reaching hands.


He was a man of myst’ry, a man with no hist’ry,

A stranger from out of the blue,

But he made his name a bush by-word for game

Jack Dailey, we’ll not forget you.


© Gayle Cresswell

LAW SCHOOL AT NIGHT : poetry compt. entry 2016

Law School at Night

I want to be trapped behind these windows.

Amongst forgotten records,

With the scars and memories

Of those gone before me.

Who lost the good fight

And paid in time.


I want the certainty of streetlights.

Surveying the hidden few,

Who’ve found the unspoken recipe

For subjugation of self-narrative,

In our forgotten paradise.


I want the top floor.

Where well-dressed predators

Consider jumping out the windows

Just to experience, the perfect view.


I want to be seduced,

With red wine, blue cheese

And white lies.


I want to witness the judges

Judge the witnesses.


I want my own cliché


I want the scrutiny of many.

Who in search of potential

Plot the dreaded assimilation

Of my strengths and faults.


I want my faults


To live on the moisture of your tongue.

In your sinuses and sinews.

So you can taste what I speak.

In our banquet of shared experience.

Trapped behind these windows.


© Jordan Hamel

IHU RETURNS – poetry compt. entry 2016

Ihu Returns

Hemi, saw your old mate Ihu the other day

been out in the community, deinstitutionalised and normalised

living with the fisher folk out in the bay


He had just walked over from Petone

Grinning up a dawn, restored, reconciled, returned

said he’d come to show the way


Had a korero with the dreadlocked bare-footed bishop

blessings all round – no miracles yet

played the guitar though (ao)


Fifty years on and nobody remembered him

‘cept the cops who were quick to check him out – tracking associates

Stopped his wine thing from going on in Midland Park


Even if he’d come back from Bolton Street

I don’t think the straights would know

who he is, was, and forever shall be


Giving out Redemption vouchers outside the Station

the suits kept their heads low and eyes averted

while those in need of hope and succour were drawn in


The clerks and cleaners, lost wives and priests dreadlocked-man

least, last, lost and alone

gathered in his sunshine


They followed him to the valley, on the No 7 bus

no donkey was available – green was in the air though

Plenty of mussels and paraoa to share that night


Shouting “I AM” as loud as a Colin McCahon

till noise control came and took him away – Disturbed the peace they said

“Guilty” he replied, “of disrupting the void”


Leaders, civic and the rest, wanted him gone

none of this ‘share the fruits of my labour’ stuff

“Give us Barbers” they cried – to keep the city hip


And so the cops and the wardens, the screws and the medics

all took their turn to prescribe their solutions

from their world view


“I am who I am” he said “My Will be done”

but the poor of Spirit still sat in the House

and the riches of the Kingdom went begging


“It is done” he said

and commended his Spirit – and the darkness returned

and the sun rested


©  Frank McDade

MOVING FORWARD – poetry compt. entry 2016



The value of frank

and open discussion,

coupled with the value

of really listening

to each other

cannot be overemphasised

if we want to make progress.


So why then

do we ignore this?


© Ann Kidd

WE ARE ALL SITTING IN -poetry compt. entry 2016

We are all sitting in

these creaky church

pews waiting for you

but you never came

in the way we wished

so we cried because

ignorance had really

been beautiful bliss.

Instead you arrived

in a wooden casket

with flowers on top

in colours you loved

and the sweet smell

of them soaking into

our rain drenched skin.

You wouldn’t have

wanted sunshine to

pretend like this day

was fine so I’m glad

the sky cried for you

and the winds wept

into the shoulders of

stars because you were

now so unbelievably far.

The newspapers said it

was a car crash that had

claimed your life but it

didn’t mention the strife

you had faced in the days

before sirens screamed at

the sight of bloody gore.

You were the boy that I

was meant to marry but

instead now I must watch

your brothers carry you

down the aisle all because

your car hit a tree and you

simply ceased to ever be.

Unruly brown hair and

that cheeky little stare

was what I first saw in

you and I tried my best

to help you from feeling

blue but at the end of the

day the devil wanted his

chance to play this game

and watch your life start

to slowly fade away in the

first light of yesterday.


It was obvious from the

start that the alcohol had

stolen your heart but we

never thought it would

be the last thing to keep

our souls forever apart.

Broken shards of glass

were found at the scene

and it was only a sign

of flattery for Jim Bean.

Gin and tonic used to

make you vomit but

it was clear there was

more at stake the night

you left my house with

a kiss goodbye and the

tattoo on your thigh

fresh and as darkened

as the evening sky.

Those last few months

had dissolved you into

the stranger I loved and

your parents had talked

in hushed voices to me

about how much you

drank and that you’d

not been at work for

days at a time and it

was absolutely not fine.

So we sat you down,

your parents and I to

ask you why you were

drinking like this and

was there something

amiss to make you feel

so alone that you found

comfort in the contents

of beer in an attempt to

counteract the fear?

But our concern was

pushed aside and you

were adamant that there

was nothing to hide yet

it seemed like you were

always hitching a ride to

the pub and then some

sleazy club just for the

shots that made the blood

in your veins feel hot.


We had fought over it all

and you knew I would just

leave if you continued to

fall into the bottle of a

demonic beer glass.

You didn’t think I was

being too harsh but you

cried and lied saying you

would get clean now so

I could lean on you but

none of it was to be true

because it was the very

next day that I lost you.

So that is why I sit at

a creaky old pew in

amongst family who

loved you and resist

the sickening panicked

urge to spew on a pew.

The priest will talk but

I will not hear a word

he is to say because I

wish you hadn’t gone

away in that bloody way.

The images will replay

in my head of the night

you died and I let myalcoholic

hair cover my face as

I cried into the shoulder

of my mother and felt

a hundred years older.

So once the words have

been said it still will not

change the fact that you

are dead but we will go

out into that rain again

and be reminded of that

summer Tuesday night

when you flew into the

light and we felt such

hurtful unhealthy pain.

We will lay a wreath

of grief on top of the

casket and your father

will pass around a little

cane basket with mini

toy cars in it for us to

bury with you because

you were never far from

your beloved old car.


Your father will ask

to say a prayer and cry

wishing his eldest son

was here but instead

we’re just left with this

damp cold air and the

realization that this life

is never completely fair.

One last look at the wet

ground in an attempt for

your much missed soul to

be found but it is not to be

around in the shape or form

we once knew as the way

you would yawn and kiss

my cheek in a way that

made my knees a bit weak.

Dirt on top of the casket

and a choked up crying

fit sitting deep inside of

my throat as I shiver in

the depths of your old

coat and watch as you

are lowered into an early

grave all because of the

empty promises alcohol

made but in the end it was

to be your life that paid

as you became a slave to

the way it tasted in your

mouth but not how it

affected anything else.

There is a clear blue sky

now yet the winds shall

still howl because all

it took was a gin and

tonic to turn your pure

heart and soul into a

comet that is now apart

of a bigger plan that any

of us alive will understand.


©  Courtney Speedy