Stories From the Marketplace, a look back at the New Zealand Capital Markets

Stories From the Marketplace by Michael Larsen explores the history of at New Zealand’s Capital Market. The book focuses on the events that occurred within the past 30 years although it is initiated by the NZX to mark their 150th anniversary.

The book will include interviews with notable New Zealanders and industry figures. The book is available for pre-order and will be available in October. Over 100 individuals spoke about their experiences and gave their opinions on the events that have impacted the market during the past 30 years. 

Michael is an incredible talent,  with numerous works to his name. As he is a friend and neighbour here in the office I got to hear some of the stories and learn a bit about the process of putting this together - which has been a huge job. Congratulations to Michael and the NZX for the initiative. 

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A Kiwi Weekend

The neighbourhood was a chorus of busy anticipation. Lawns were mowed. Errands run. Chores were done. Supplies were purchased. Small boys ran about thr street talking of their favourite players. A tremendous unity of purpose could be seen everywhere. Cars decked in flags, girls wearing "Keep Calm, Piris On" t-shirts, and a replay of the Wales vs Australia game all helped to build up the mood. Every commentary has been careful to note both the probability attaching to the favourites and the possibility of the underdogs - which has been demonstrated in this competition and others.

I'm quite wound up about it all. We'll watch the game as a family, it won't even be possible to put our five-year-old to bed.

Go the All Blacks!

Avranche and the Patton Memorial

These days I try to keep the purely personal to a minimum on this blog (that's what Facebook is for) but as I am out of town, and therefore answering your emails in the middle of the night, I thought I might share briefly where I am and what I am up to.

I've been to London, Deeping St. James, Portsmouth, St. Malo, and I am now happily ensconced in a lovely 'cottage' in Normandy. Yesterday we popped into Avranche and enjoyed lunch and sightseeing there.

Here is a photo of The Patton Memorial in Avranche.


Avranche was the starting point for operation Cobra, the breakout from the Normandy Beaches. There is a well-kept memorial, tank, and statue to Patton. The memorials celebrate liberation - quite a thought considering 600 towns and villages in Normandy and Brittany were effectively destroyed in the course of the allied operations, and so many were killed in the fighting that there is a memorial to unidentified civilians. Patton even has a hotel, a street name, a cafe named after him. He's well liked.

Tomorrow we wil view the remains of a Mulberry Harbour and visit the museum in Arromanches, visit Bayeux to see the tapestry, the graves from the landing at Omaha Beach.

There you go, normal service will resume with financial and insurance-related posts coming up next. Until I reach Paris, when I may update you again.

Mind Blowing: The Maths of War

When I can tick the categories "current affairs" and "science" and "history" then I know I have a very curious piece of news on my hands. As a (bad) student of mathmatics numbering a fair number of people more seriously educated in the subject in my family, and also with a fair number of analytical people in the readership I often share mathematical oddities (non-transitive dice, cluedo solvers, and the like) in this blog. It's broadly related, I suppose, to the underlying challenges of risk management, and the analysis of the industry that we continually undertake.

Now you can read up on the maths of war, and the curiously predictable nature of conflicts, their lethality, discovered by Lewis Fry Richardson and others that have picked up on his work more recently. Grab some coffee and give yourself ten minutes with this piece.

Cabaret - the musical - by Auckland Theatre Company: A Real Great.

On Saturday Fran and I took in Cabaret at the Salon Perdu Spiegeltent which is temproarily set up at Auckland's viaduct harbour.

Cabaret isn't only a good excuse for some great songs and raunchy dancing, although those things are good, and don't need any excuse. It is also, as Director Michael Hurst notes in his notes in the programme, a cautionary tale reminding us to fight totalitarianism which might seek to shut the clubs and take their desire to 'clean-up' to horrific lengths: killing lots of people that don't agree with them. So, for a musical in which everyone you like dies at the end, it's incredibly good fun.

The audience loved it too. There was only one point where I felt like someone should hold up a sign saying 'it's alright to laugh' - that was at the end of "If you could see her". A dance done by Hannah Tasker-Poland with a heavy leg brace on, where she is pretending to be handicapped (who were also a target of the Nazis) finishes with the emcee singing "If you could see her through my eyes, she wouldn't look Jewish at all". What Hurst has done is take the Cabaret back to it's original (in various versions it has been mucked about with quite a bit). This is one example. Wikipedia notes that the line was changed in some productions:

'"She wouldn't look Jewish at all," which, while meant to be anti-anti-Semitic, sounded so anti-Semitic that it was changed.'

I think the production was brilliant, and also that the audience did get it - but not quite quick enough to laugh right then. All in all the show was great: the atmosphere of the unusual venue, the decision to run with the original format, the choreography, the perfomer's energy, and the incredible dance involving both Mike Edward and Ebon Grayman. Anyone who works out can appreciate just how hard it is to achieve their strength, anyone who has danced can appreciate just how hard it is to achieve their grace - but both together...

As an aside, I think the play is also about the balance between short-term happiness, and long-term happiness - and that governments should broadly keep out of the constant search for the right balance between those that individuals are striving to arrive at.

Here is the ATC site link (some good photos)

Here is the NBR review.