PM Jacinda Ardern addresses the media at the Pacific Islands Forum after the leaders’ retreat.
Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air.
Act Party leader David Seymour is demanding an apology from Te Pāti Māori co-leader Rawiri Waititi after he joked about spiking Seymour’s drink with poisonous berries.
Waititi made the comments at Te Pāti Māori’s conference held in Rotorua, where he joked about using karaka berries to poison Seymour.
He told the audience about a karaka seedpod necklace he was wearing, saying the poisonous seeds were still in it.
“These are karaka berries and they’ve still got the poison in them. So next time I go into Parliament this is what I’m going to do. When David Seymour’s not looking, I’m going to go like this into his water.” He tapped a seed pod over an imaginary glass. “There you are, re-indigenise yourself with some native seeds.”
The manner of delivery was comedic and everybody laughed, including his fellow co-leader Debbie Ngarewa-Packer sitting next to him.
However, Seymour, who was in Rotorua for a national Act campaign last week, said he didn’t believe Watiti’s comments were a joke.
Seymour told the Rotorua Daily Post getting an apology would be the right thing to do.
“Well first of all you’ve gotta put it into context. Last week the president of Te Pāti Māori said that Act was the white settler party and should leave New Zealand.
“That is extremely dangerous rhetoric.
“For them to apologise and say they don’t support the rhetoric of people being excluded from our society based on race would be the most acceptable thing to do.
“I don’t think it’s funny to joke about poisoning people.”
Seymour acknowledged his whakapapa to Ngāpuhi after his uncle was doing research into their genealogy during the 1980s.
“My ancestors are British and also Māori from Ngāti Rehia in the Far North,” Seymour said.
“I do identify with my Māori side and you’ve gotta think carefully about where you’ve come from because it informs where you’re going.
“I’ve got multiple interests in New Zealand’s history.”
The karaka is traditionally highly revered by Māori as it is an important resource, or mahinga kai (food gathering place). When told this Seymour responded: “Well, I think the point is, he’s saying that I want to poison you.”
In this family history, “Raft Tide and Railroad: How We Lived and Died — Collected Memories and Stories of an Appalachian Family and Its Seventh Son,” Appalachian author, poet, and editor Dr. Edwina Pendarvis, was guided by sage advice from a grandmother, Jet Johnson, known only to her through family stories and photographs.
Not long before Johnson was murdered, she asked one of her sons to note the strength of a bundle of twigs — as opposed to an individual twig — and see it as a metaphor for family strength — a metaphor originated by an earlier Appalachian — the warrior Tecumseh. In “Raft Tide and Railroad,” the author has preserved her family’s history and recognized its strength through accounts that span seven generations of experiences in Virginia, Kentucky, and West Virginia from the early 1800s to the present.
Pendarvis, a key member of the Jesse Stuart Foundation editorial team, also tells a larger, communal story of those who settled the Appalachian region. It is one of homesteading an untamed wilderness, timbering the virgin forests, and moving the logs downstream on swollen rivers. She recounts life on the farms, in the small towns created by the coming of the railroads, and in the coal camps. As the title promises, the memoir focuses on the life of one “special” uncle, the seventh son of a seventh son and youngest child of Jet Johnson. His story is a rags-to-riches account of a self-proclaimed “hillbilly” who built a horse-breeding empire after selling a successful mining company. Sports Illustrated said of Donald Johnson: “Far from being a member of the horsey…
John Honderich, the long-time former editor and publisher of The Toronto Star, has died. He was 75.
Born into a newspaper family, Mr. Honderich, in his ever-present bow tie, was a legendary champion for journalism and journalists, endlessly devoted to Canadian political life and social justice issues.
“John Honderich was a giant of Canadian journalism who believed deeply in building a better Toronto – and a better Canada,” tweeted Prime Minister Justin Trudeau late Saturday. “As we mourn his passing, I’m sending my deepest condolences to his family, friends, and former Toronto Star colleagues.”
Friends were also mourning him.
“He was one of a kind, there’s no doubt about it,” said his long-time friend Scott White, former editor-in-chief of The Canadian Press news agency, in an interview late Saturday. Along with Globe and Mail publisher Phillip Crawley, he noted, Mr. Honderich was “kind of the last of the lions of journalism in this country.”
CTV’s Lisa LaFlamme also paid tribute to him.
“This is the loss of a giant in Canadian journalism,” Ms. LaFlamme wrote on Twitter. “John always fought for the reporters, for the story, for the truth. I’m shocked and saddened. She called him “a force.”
Former Toronto Star columnist Royson James told The Globe and Mail that Mr. Honderich was “absolutely one of the great figures in Canadian journalism.”
“He saw something in me and I was and am determined to never let him down.”
In a thread of tweets, Toronto Mayor John Tory also expressed his condolences.
“John Honderich truly believed in Toronto, our city’s promise and its unique place in the world. He was just as passionate about the Toronto Star and how big a part quality journalism had to play in building a Toronto which was strong and prosperous but also inclusive and fair,” Mr. Tory wrote.
“His contributions beyond business were many, always motivated by a desire to make this a better place to live. He was a larger than life Torontonian who left us too soon and who will truly be missed.”
A father of two, he lived in Toronto – of course – and spent summers at the family cottage on Georgian Bay. He was also a dedicated Toronto Raptors fan.
John Allen Honderich was born in Toronto in 1946 – into a life of newspapers. His father was Beland Honderich, also a former publisher of the Toronto Star – about whom John Honderich had written in a recently completed book. (He previously wrote the book Arctic Imperative: Is Canada Losing the North?, published in 1987.)
A graduate of a junior college in Switzerland, the University of Toronto and the London School of Economics, with degrees in political science and law, he initially rejected the idea of a career in journalism. “When I started … I hadn’t even written a letter to the editor,” he said in 2019.
He began his newspaper career in 1973 at The Ottawa Citizen, working as a copy boy and night reporter. He joined The Toronto Star as a reporter in 1976. He later became bureau chief for the Star in Ottawa and Washington. After serving as deputy editor, he was appointed business editor in May 1984. He became editor of the Star in 1988 and publisher in 1994.
He became chair of the Torstar Board in 2009.
Mr. Honderich was a member of the Order of Canada and the Order of Ontario. He was the 2019 recipient of the Canadian Journalism Foundation’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
“His total dedication to journalism not only in Canada, but in emerging countries, is unrivalled,” the CJF said.
“A brilliant mind, a curious intelligence, and someone filled with scintillating good humour” is how jury member Adrienne Clarkson, the former governor-general, described Mr. Honderich in the award-ceremony video.
“Sadly, I think everyone knows there is a crisis in journalism today,” Mr. Honderich said in his acceptance speech, emphasizing the link between quality journalism and a healthy democracy. It was an issue of great concern to him. In his speech, he quoted perhaps The Toronto Star’s most-famous former reporter, Ernest Hemingway: “The best ammunition against lies is the truth.”
“Honderich was a businessman who, by job description, had to look after the dollars, which was easy when advertisers were knocking the Star doors off their hinges to advertise – 10 and 20 years ago. But times got tough and then desperate, and Honderich always protected the newsroom and reporters and The Truth – yes, with capital letters, against the Attacks of the Bean Counters. Reporters loved him,” former Toronto Star editor Michael Cooke told The Globe and Mail.
“I spoke to him just last week, and he was in fine form. He was excited about his new book on the Star,” said the Star’s Queen’s Park bureau chief Robert Benzie. “His enthusiasm was boundless. Nobody cared more about this city and telling its stories than John. He was such a champion for the newsroom and for our bureaus. He loved the newspaper and the newspaper loved him.”
Mr. White, who is now editor-in-chief of The Conversation Canada, an independent online publication that serves as a platform for academics, noted that among Mr. Honderich’s achievements was that he was largely responsible for the revival of CP.
He had also spoken with Mr. Honderich at length on Friday, and said he had planned to travel to B.C. for an extended holiday later this month. They talked about – what else? – politics and the state of journalism.
Mr. Honderich was also responsible for launching the Atkinson Fellowship in Public Policy in 1987, with his father. The Atkinson Principles, editorial values, which were embraced by Mr. Honderich – and many journalists are summarized as: “a strong, united and independent Canada; social justice; individual and civil liberties; community and civic engagement; the rights of working people; and the necessary role of government.”
“He really was the embodiment of the Atkinson Principles,” said Mr. White. “And he lived them and he believed them. And he felt he had to be the guardian of them. And I always respected him for that, because the Atkinson Principles sometimes got in the way of what might have been good business, but he always put them first. And someone who was just in there being a bean counter wouldn’t have done it that way. He cared about Canada, he cared about journalism and he loved the Star.”
With files from The Canadian Press and reports from Robyn Doolittle
The National Crime Information Center reports that across the United States there are 89,637 active missing person cases, a total that includes three in the Susquehanna Valley. It’s a shockingly high number, leaving thousands of families wondering how and when any sort of closure can come and what it will look like.
A new bill awaits Gov. Tom Wolf’s signature and we would encourage him to sign it sooner rather than later. House Bill 930 was introduced by State Reps. Lynda Culber and David Millard 11 months ago. The bill would require Pennsylvania State Police to forward forensic DNA profiles and other evidence relating to missing persons and unidentified decedents to the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs), a national database of records, evidence and services.
The bill passed through the Senate and is on Gov. Wolf’s desk.
After getting over the hurdle that this wasn’t already an automatic transmission of information, remember that these numbers represent more than just data to too many families.
Two-year-old Cory Edkin went missing from his New Columbia home in October 1986. He’s never been seen since his mother put him to bed and went to the store, returning 30 minutes later. Two years ago, police said they had made “significant advances” in the case, but nothing has been publicly disclosed since.
Barbara Miller was at a wedding in 1989 when she went missing. The investigation into her case has kicked up a few times over the years, including an extensive search of a Milton home in 2017, but the case seems as old as it ever has.
In 2020, Angel Donohue was reported missing to Sunbury police. State Police say they are now investigating “suspicious circumstances” surrounding her disappearance.
NamUs has a pretty wide reach and background to aid in these kinds of searches. They offer free and secure online resources to quickly push cases forward, free forensic services including fingerprint examination and DNA testing and experienced staffers to aid in putting pieces together.
“This is another tool for investigators and we want to be able to give families of missing loved ones every option possible,” Culver said. “We want families to have hope.”
In many cases, it has been years since any real signs of hope. Adding NamUs into the toolbox can only help, perhaps offering families a few steps toward closure they have they have long sought.
NOTE: Opinions expressed in The Daily Item’s editorials are the consensus of the publisher, top newsroom executives and community members of the editorial board. Today’s was written by Managing Editor Bill Bowman.