Water Cooler: Celebrating science with the KiwiNet awards, dry July ideas and taking a horse to the dentist

This week in the water cooler we: celebrate clever New Zealand scientists at the KiwiNet awards, get creative with mocktails for dry July, seek out Kiwis doing ‘magnifique’ things in France for Bastille Day and take our horses to the dentist  (yikes).


The work of scientists doesn’t often get noted beyond the pages of academic journals but the KiwiNet Awards celebrate New Zealand’s scientists with razzle dazzle especially contributions to New Zealand’s economy and the commercialisation of research. In the awards this week Prof Richard Furneaux, of the Ferrier Research Institute at Victoria University, took out the BNZ Supreme Award for his carbohydrate chemistry over the past 25 years. Research directed by Richard has generated tens of millions of dollars of economic activity for New Zealand. His work includes a synthetic vaccine to treat cancer, allergies and autoimmune diseases as well as the synthesis of forodesine hydrochloride, the active ingredient in anti-lymphoma drug Mundesine.

University of Canterbury’s Dr Geoff Rodgers won the Norman F. B. Barry Foundation Emerging Innovator Award for his work in seismic energy dissipation. The research is being used to develop damping systems for buildings as earthquake protection – and can also be used to measure wear and tear on hip joint replacement. Amazing work from some very clever New Zealanders.

For more information on the KiwiNet Awards winners see kiwinet.org.nz/Awards/Awards2017

Emma Rawson
Editor, thisNZlife


horse dentist

You might hate going to the dentist, but spare a thought for what a horse goes through: a nice lady rocks up, acts all friendly, then places a steel contraption over the lower half of your head, ratchets open your mouth and takes to your teeth with a 40cm long steel file.
Horses, despite having 36-44 teeth each 10-12cm long, are surprisingly good about the experience. Their teeth are mostly buried beneath their gums, deep into the jaw. They slowly ‘erupt’ throughout the life of the horse at a rate of about 2-3mm a year, wearing down as a horse nips through pasture with the sharp teeth at the front (I’ve been bitten, it hurts) and then chewing it using huge molars at the back of the jaw, quite some way into their head.

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horse teeth
Despite there being no sugary drinks in their diet horses can get all sorts of teeth issues. My elderly pony Casper has a missing tooth. The vet discovered the hole goes through his jaw and right up into his nasal cavity, meaning sometimes chewed-up grass comes out his nose. However, he’s quite happy in himself and I struggle to keep his weight down so one missing tooth doesn’t seem to be a bother.
An equine dentist files carefully removing any sharp edges and doing a general check of the teeth. A horse with bad teeth can be in pain, can have issues when being ridden, and can start to lose condition if they can’t chew their food properly.
Baby and Casper are all good for the year. It’s probably time to call my dentist.

Nadene Hall
Editor NZ Lifestyle Block


Ahhhh wine. It’s true that you never truly appreciate something until it’s gone, and now midway through Dry July, I’m discovering just how wonderful our relationship was. I never appreciated the sweetness of the first sip of cold bubbly, or the fragrant aromas of a glass of rose until I jumped onboard Dry July on a whim. My husband (who works in the wine industry – once a blessing and now a curse) and I spent May embracing the European love of lunchtime wine, so the timing seemed right to go cold turkey. One thing that I’ve discovered is that ‘mocktails’ are no longer orange juice with a dash of raspberry and an umbrella on top. I was dreading our work dinner party at the Vodka Room (their cocktail list is a thing of beauty) but the staff happily whipped up picture perfect mocktails that looked and tasted just as good as the real deal.

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This year is a trial run to see how good my willpower is – next year I plan on joining the 4,000+ New Zealanders who are raising money for cancer patients and their families. Support our thirsty superstars by donating at dryjuly.co.nz. Know a friend going the full four weeks? Why not whip them up a Black Basil Palmer – just don’t toast them with a glass of wine.

Recipe: Black Basil Palmer Mocktail
90 ml Black tea
45 ml fresh lemon juice
45 ml basil infused simple syrup (or just use regular simple syrup and instead muddle and shake fresh basil in with the cocktail to obtain the infusion that way.)
4 dashes of Australian Bitters (or Angostura Aromatic Bitters)

Shake, then serve in a Collins glass over fresh ice
Garnish with a Basil leaf

Cheree Morrison
Staff Writer NZ, Life & Leisure


July 14 is Bastille Day so we’ve found some French-inspired reading from our website.

Read about former Auckland art dealer Anna Bibby who ignored the voices that told her she was bonkers and upped and moved to small-town France for a life très tranquille. Follow New Zealand cook Peta Mathias’ adventures in the Uzes in Southern France. Learn about the food forest in Chéronnac, about 400km south of Paris, planted with 400 species, including persimmon, dates, figs, peaches, kiwifruit, nuts, and berries. Make use of your winter lemons with this fabulously decadent lemon meringue pie from Simon Wright at The French Cafe (fun fact the first lemon meringue pie was made by a baker from Romandy, the French speaking part of Switzerland). Je suis désolé, I admit the last one is a stretch, however we can reassure readers it’s a très délicieuse pie.

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Emma Rawson
Editor, thisNZlife

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