A conversation on evolution

So this morning I was doing my impression of a T Rex making breakfast (don’t ask) and Atarau said “they don’t make that noise you know.” I said “you are probably right but no one has ever heard one”. That caused Kahu to jump in with “well what about homo sapiens?”
That started me on explaining neanderthals, cro-magnon, homo sapiens etc.
Which prompted the where did they come from question. So as I was making sandwiches for their lunches I attempted to explain evolution in 10 minutes, which resulted in the following comments.
Kahu: Oh, like upgrades.
Atarau: That’s why I like bananas eh?
Kahu: Oh and that’s why some kids are sometimes silly, they are still growing out of being a monkey.

I’d call it a moderate success.

In part two of explaining concepts before being fully awake, tune in for Chris trying to explain sexism and racism.

Tips from a really lazy dad – #4 : Helping kids with homework via chat

So sometimes my parents pick up the kids from school, and Kahurangi loves chatting, so we sometimes chat online while I am at work. One of the things the school is working on is answering addition problems fast. (Fast is the key, it’s almost more important than right). Chat is a great way to practice that. Below is a sample of it, I cut a lot of the math bits out because that isn’t super interesting. However I decided to leave in the surrounding conversation because it cracks me up.

Are you being good for nan?
is atarau being good?
is atarau being good too?
you cant use the tablet unless you are being good
I’m sure I’m being good
heh ok
do nan and koro want me to get something for dinner?
If you like koko will pay you back
what do they want? fish and chips?
3 Sausages and one fish and wedges and chips
ok, thanks
You’re welcome
have you done some maths?
whats 3 + 9
whats 12 – 4
Oops sorry that was a mistake 9
you were right the first time
it is 8
What does lol mean
I’m serious
Does it mean lauf out loud
Atarau and nan are playing marble run
Are you responding
thats what it means
Hello jello bello
Are you coming home
yep, leaving in about 10 minutes
then gotta stop to get the fish and chips
Work until 5 o clock
the traffic is too bad
ill finish at 4.30
and then be home by about 5.30 with the food
ok i gotta get back to work, aunty might send you a chat invite
Hi ho
There was an old lady who swallowed a fly that wriggled and jiggled inside her
I need to charge this thing

Tips from a really lazy dad – #3 Not giving a crap people are judging you for giving your kid a pie for breakfast

This morning we were running late for swimming, and to make it worse we forgot one of the swimming bags. So after turning round and going back home to get togs we had very little time to get breakfast. Then I realised I needed petrol, screw it, I thought, pies for everyone.
So that’s not the tip everyone knows pies are good, the tip is not caring about all the looks you get when your 5 year old is munching on a pie by the side of the pool while his brother swims. The old me would have been seething and barely holding back the desire to yell “What! You don’t know me man”. Now I’m happy to just let it wash over me. So that’s my tip, judgers be judging, ignore them and enjoy your pie.

Tips from a really lazy dad – #2 Minetest bribery

This one is a little bit trickier to pull off, first you will need a friendly German colleague who gives you her Raspberry Pi. (I guess you could just buy one yourself too). Then you need kids who are mad keen on crafting games specifically Minecraft, or in my case Minetest. Minetest is an Open Source clone of Minecraft which means I can run it in on the Raspberry Pi pretty easily, and I can make any changes I like.

What I have done is set up Minetest running as a server on the Pi and running a world in which I have created a ‘Rewards hut’


In there is a locked chest which only I (well they could but they’d get in trouble if they did and they know that) can open


And a sign that tells them what to do to get the current reward.


You wont be able to read whats on the sign (unless you click through) but it says “Put your washing in the laundry for 10 steel ingots”.   This actually works pretty well, you have to make the reward worth it, ie it would take them a bunch of time to get steel by mining.  I guess it fits into a different definition of lazy, it does involve me making a bunch of things that can be used as rewards and going and changing the sign every so often. But it’s kinda fun too.

Tips from a really lazy dad – #1 The breakfast bar

A couple of years ago we went as a family to Rotorua, the highlight of the trip for the kids was not the geothermal parks, nor Paradise Springs, or indeed any other tourist spot we visited. It was the breakfast buffet in the hotel.

So what do you do when you are lazy, and leave making the kids lunches until the morning and so are trying to get them dressed, and make the lunches, and get them to eat. You create a budget breakfast buffet for them. Basically I just put bowls, spoons and all the cereals on the table, got two bottles and put milk into each so that when they spill (when not if) it won’t be a full 2 litres. And away you go.

Of course it wasn’t quite as successful as I would have liked, most of my plans born of laziness aren’t.

Here’s how it looked when I set it up.

2015-02-08 16.16.54

And here’s how it looked after a breakfast



Yes that is a baseball bat on the table … and some of those damned animal cards from countdown, and someone snuck oreos in as a breakfast food.  They didn’t spill 2 litres of milk though, so I’ll take that as a win.

Stay tuned for more tips, that probably won’t work, from a lazy dad.

Te Pō Atarau and Māui Nukurau

So as many of you probably know, Te Pō Atarau really really wanted to have Māui come to his birthday party. As usual Laurel stepped up, and began emailing anyone she could think of and running an advertisement in The Big Idea. Unfortunately this was proving to be fruitless, however a reporter the Sunday Star times heard about this and called Laurel to ask if she could do an interview for the paper.

After a bit of hesitation (reporters who write what you actually say are pretty rare) we decided to do it, so Laurel did a phone interview and one of the most excellent photographers I’ve met came to take photos of Atarau. We got the photos taken in Upper Hutt at my mum and dads because the kids were out there. That was that we thought, some small human interest piece buried in the huge paper that is the Sunday Star Times. Nope, page 7 of the paper, and the lead story in the National News section on stuff.co.nz. It peaked at the 4th most viewed story on Sunday, and has now been liked on facebook 707 times. My contacts tell me that the story was viewed about 18,700 times on that Sunday. Here is the story as it ran in Stuff.

What was even better that after the story ran a woman who saw it contacted Laurel and said she knew of the perfect Māui, a 1st year drama student at Toi Whakaari. As if this wasn’t fantastic enough, Laurel was also contacted by Tanemahuta Gray, yes that’s right the man who wrote and directed ‘Māui : One man against the gods’ .. how cool is that? However we had already been in touch with Justin, and felt it was right to give him a chance. But we are still humbled and incredibly appreciative that Tanemahuta offered.

It turned out that Justin was utterly fabulous as Māui. He performs magic so Māui Nukurau (Māui the trickster) was the character he decided to play. After the kids had all arrived, we sat them down and Laurel started to read the Māui and the sun.


At the end of the story Māui appeared, as if out of nowhere, with his taiaha, and from that instant on he had 27 children spellbound. He started with a magic show, that truth be told had the adults spellbound also. You think doing magic tricks are hard, try them with no pockets or sleeves!

The kids loved it, Te Pō Atarau did not stop grinning the entire time, and had to keep telling everyone ‘My friend Māui is sooo funny eh?’


After that was finished, we dished up some afternoon tea for the kids, but there was no stopping Māui, he got out his guitar and went to sit at a table, of course Atarau had to go sit next to him. One of the cutest moments for me was when Atarau asked him “Māui do you want a drink?” and then went to get him one.  This next photo was about when Atarau asked Māui if he liked butter chicken.



We cut the cake next, and then moved outside to beat up Tamanui te Ra.


Throughout the Pinata destruction Māui remained in character, talking to the kids and cheering them on. “Wow” we thought, “This guy is awesome”. We also got a lot of comments to that effect from the other parents, he was charming everybody. But that wasn’t the end of it, Māui had some games of his own, including try to sneak up and grab the fire.

And tag, and hide and seek. The kids all seemed to love every minute of it, and as parents we couldn’t have been happier. It was a great party.

I would like to thank first of all Laurel, without whom none of this would have happened. Then of course Justin who stayed in character for nearly 3 hours and entranced 27 children the entire time. Then Kim and Tania who put us in touch with Justin. My sister and brother in law and my parents who organised all the food. Donna had once again organised the cake, she has done all of our kids cakes. This time it was Mahuika’s fire and the trees it leapt into.


There were marmite sandwiches, cut into the shape of fish (Te ika a Māui). Blue jelly with a peach waka on it, fruit kebabs the kids had helped my mum and dad make, and fries with tomato sauce (heaped to look like a cooking fire).

Kathryn for dressing up as a Kete, Kristina for playing the role of Mahuika and most excellent photographer (a lot of these photos are from her and she took i think 147 photos).Finally all the fantastic friends and whanau who came to make it such a great day, one I am sure Te Pō Atarau will never forget (I certainly will never forget it). Not the least because Māui stayed right to the end and finished the day by doing a haka called Tika Tonu with 4 of the Tipoki – Lawton’s.

Let me finish this post with the words to Tika Tonu.

Tika tonu! 
U – e!
Tika tonu!
U… e!
Tika tonu atu ki a koe, e tama

Hiki nei koe aku whakaaro, pakia!
He hiki aha to hiki?
He hiki roa
 to hiki?
I a ha hā!

E tama, te uaua ana
E tama, te mārō
Roa ina hoki ra
Te tohe o te uaua na
E tāu nei.
Āna! Āna! Āna! Aue… Hī!

What is right is always right!
In – deed!
What is right is always right!
Ah… yes!
Be true to yourself, my son!
My concerns have been raised about you, so pay attention!….
What is this problem you are carrying?
How long have you been carrying it for?
Have you got that?
Right, let’s go on.

So son, although it may be difficult for you
and son, although it seems to be unyielding
no matter how long you reflect on it
the answer to the problem
is here inside you.
Indeed! Indeed! Indeed! Yes, indeed!