Mocking the haka: The Haka Party Incident and ‘casual’ racism in New Zealand

15 Mar , 2021  

For 20 years Māori had written to the engineering school at Auckland University asking them to stop an annual event where students would dress up in grass skirts and perform the university haka ‘Akarana’ as a capping day lark. By the 1970s it had morphed into a grotesque mimic, where the engineers would draw penises and curse words on their body – a caricature of tā moko – get very drunk, charge around the university causing chaos, and stop traffic up and down Queen Street to perform the haka.

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Culture, Travel

Blessing at Wat Naxang

6 Feb , 2021  

I visited this monk at Wat Naxang this week. It had been a while since going to temple and it was time for a Buddhist blessing of good luck and protection evidently. I have followed this monk over the years from Wat That Luang to Wat Taohai and now Ban Naxang. He seems to move […]

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Culture, Travel

Magic Laos

2 Oct , 2020  

‘The Vietnamese plant the rice, the Cambodians tend the rice and the Lao listen to it grow’ – said the French colonialists. Needless to say, they didn’t mean it as a compliment. And maybe they should have. Hundred years later, looking at Laos we might find out that there is much to learn from its […]

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Becoming a Buddhist Monk


Ordaining a Buddhist Monk

11 Aug , 2020  

Reposted from the diaries of Laos magazine n Laos, as in other Buddhist countries, men can be ordained as novice monks to live the monastic life for a certain period. It is also popular for children and teenagers to live as monks for a couple of months, during the summer holidays, as a means of […]

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Hardship in Laos: Can you help someone?

10 Aug , 2020  

It’s the time of year when Novice Monks finish school and many leave the temple to become laymen. School exams have finished and many novices decide to leave the temple around this time. They are often ill-prepared with little to no education about living life as a layman and no financial support. Many of these […]

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The Dammed Nam Khan River

14 Mar , 2019  

I took this photo of Novices washing in the Nam Khan river on the way home today. It’s one of my favourite landscapes and I don’t stop to appreciate it enough. The bamboo bridge is up at the moment as it is dry season. It will come down when the monsoon season arrives in May. […]

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