Saturday, September 26, 2009

Sir Howard Morrison - A great entertainer, a great leader of his people and a great New Zealander has died.

Sir Howard Morrison passed away after a heart attack at his home in Rotorua. He was 74.

For more than 50 years he provided a unique Maori voice, becoming perhaps the greatest ambassador to New Zealand music the country has seen.

He was born in Rotorua in 1935 to a family he described as poor and has described his life as "beautiful, simple, but meaningful".

Morrison always loved music and once said he "fell in love with the way I sounded".

He left school to become a freezing worker, but by the mid-1950s he started putting together groups for gigs at local rugby club socials.

But it was the Howard Morrison Quartet that catapulted him into the spotlight and turned them into one of the country's original pop groups - and the first fully professional entertainers. The quartet was originally named the Ohinemutu Quartet and included Gerry Merito, Morrison's brother Laurie and his cousin John.

Their debut record, My Old Man's An All Black, topped the charts in 1960, selling 80,000 copies. By 1965 the quartet disbanded and Howard Morrison launched his solo career.

He married his wife Kuia at age 22.

In 1966 he made it onto the big screen, topping the bill in the musical comedy Don't Let It Get You. The role helped him win entertainer of the year and other awards would follow, including being named the 1982 television entertainer of the year.

Sir Howard was the uncle of movie actor Temuera Morrison.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Kenya: Innovative Cash Transfers Restore Hope, Dignity.
Cash-based program empowers communities displaced by conflict in Nakuru, Kenya

There is no “one size fits all” strategy for helping families and communities rebuild after a devastating crisis. Action Against Hunger’s Food Security & Livelihoods Programs uphold this principle when working to restore self-sufficiency by respecting a community’s economic and cultural character. Each community has its own unique assets, and it’s our job to work with local leaders to identify these assets and integrate them into a project’s overall design. While this painstaking commitment to community participation is essential, contexts are different, requiring new models and novel approaches.

The political instability that unfolded in Kenya in January of 2008 presented Action Against Hunger with one such set of unique challenges. Nakuru, the regional capital of Kenya’s Rift Valley Province, had been particularly affected by the post-election violence that tore through Kenya last year. With populations displaced along ethnic lines, livelihoods disrupted, and homes destroyed, communities were left adrift to fend for themselves in makeshift camps.

While most humanitarian assistance centered on the needs in the camps, a significant number of the displaced had gone undetected, having sought shelter with friends and relatives in Nakuru instead of the camps. After establishing a presence in the camps, Action Against Hunger discovered that there were unmet needs in town, where residents struggled to rebuild their homes and support their families without any access to income. Action Against Hunger saw a clear opportunity to introduce a cash-based program to meet these overlooked needs.

Read more here