Refugees the easy scapegoats in Berlin attack

ISIS “inspiring” a refugee to carry out a terrorist attack would be the ultimate way to polarise German society. This is what German academic Peter Neumann warned in an interview with Monocle magazine last week, explaining that ISIS leaders “want to help extreme right-wing forces to come to power”.

Although we are yet to find out who was responsible for Monday night’s horrific attack on the Breitscheidplatz Christmas market in Berlin, some German politicians are already giving ISIS exactly what it wants.

Very early on Tuesday morning residents at the Tempelhof refugee shelter had a storming of their new home added to the trauma of violence experienced in their home countries.

Published on Fairplanet

Read on

Hygge – the Danes' "obsession" – has arrived on New Zealand's shores

Last Christmas holidays I spent 10 days playing board games, all in the name of hygge.

The Danish concept of cosiness has quickly become Europe's latest wellness trend, touted as the reason for the Danes' consistent ranking as the happiest people in the world. With bookshops stocking nine new tomes on hygge, Kiwis could soon be inviting each other over to try it out.

Published in Sunday magazine and on Stuff.co.nz

Read on (opes as a PDF)

Gimme shelter

The tents and containers used as temporary refugee accommodation are known to burst in the wind, collapse under snow, trap the stifling heat and provide little in the way of privacy or comfort for some of the world’s most desperate citizens.

Thankfully some innovators are designing shelters that work to embrace their inhabitants, rather than add to their desperation.

Published on Fairplanet

Read on

An Afghan adrift

A German class is the best place I know to meet fellow newcomers in Berlin, to have a whinge about how hard it is to sort out visa paperwork, swap job websites and chat about which nightclubs stay open the latest.

It’s the place where I meet Mohamad, a refugee from Afghanistan. We’re both new here – we have that in common. But that’s about it.

Published in Wellington's Capital magazine

Read on (opens as a PDF)

Live the dream – what no one else will tell you about the Big OE

When one of my girlfriends emailed an hour after our arranged Skype date to say she was sorry she’d forgotten to Skype in, but “thought you’d probably be busy looking at pretty old buildings or eating a pastry anyway," I lost the plot altogether.

“What does she think I’m doing?” I wailed into my laptop screen at my mum, the unfortunate next caller. “Having a good time?!”

Of course I was supposed to be having a good time, all the time, because I was on my Big OE – the young New Zealander’s overseas experience, sold as a rite of passage.

Published in Wellington's Capital magazine

Read on (opens as a PDF)