Sunset Makara

At around sunset today we will be able to see a Solar Eclipse from Wellington, and I will be heading out with my camera to try and get a decent photo of it.

Makara is a candidate for my shooting location. It is where this photo was taken 6 months ago, so the sunset tonight should be roughly similar - with the added effect of a solar eclipse.

A high quality version of this image can be found in on 500px.


South Wairarapa Coast

Another photo from my recent photography excursion to the South Wairarapa.

This time of the coastal scenery which clings to the small gap between rolling green (at this time of year) farmland (of which there are hints in this photo) and a very rugged coast (off to the right).

You can see the dramatic effect of numerous earthquakes over many centuries which have progressively lifted this coastline out of the sea.

A high quality version of this image can be found in on 500px.


Porpoises at Paremata Bridge

Driving over Paremata Bridge we saw what we thought were Dolphins but TV3 News says they are Porpoises.

Friends who live nearby say they've been there since yesterday.

A high quality version of this image can be found in on 500px.


The Seagull is such a common bird

The Seagull is such a common bird, a bit of a nuisance actually.

But also quite photogenic.

A high quality version of this image can be found in on 500px.


Derelict House in South Wairarapa

I took the day off work yesterday as it was my birthday.

During the day I went with some friends to the South Wairarapa to enjoy each other's company and some photography.

This is one of my favourite shots.

A high quality version of this image can be found in on 500px.


Fishing Waitarere Sunrise

We're heading into summer.

This is where I plan to be spending a lot of weekends with my son.

A high quality version of this image can be found in on 500px.


This is Not an Act of God ...

"This is not an act of God, this is the earth, doing what it does.

The act of God is is how we love each other, how we reach out to one another."
--- Peter Beck, Dean of the Christchurch Cathedral.

This statement resonated deeply with me when I first saw it on Friday on Facebook while catching up with the still ongoing stream of devastating news and reaction following the earthquake which struck Christchurch on Tuesday. I have been reflecting on it all weekend.

I immediately posted it on Facebook and Twitter myself. I also emailed it to a couple of pastor friends, saying "it's too good to leave [on Facebook and Twitter] alone" - hoping it might help them prepare for leading their church services today. One, my own pastor, challenged me to capture my thoughts in this blog post.

I think Dean Beck's statement resonates with me because it not only reflects my understanding of God, but it also directly confronts those who loosely use the phrase "Act of God" as a way to blame God, or at least hold God to account, for natural events. As if faith in God is some form of lottery, which some must win, and others must lose. Before science helped us understand what is going on in the world around us it was understandable to ascribe natural events like earthquakes to our understanding of a higher power, but we no longer need to do this. Of all places, we here in New Zealand have a rich and growing understanding of seismic forces and what they can, and do, do. Here in Wellington, where I have lived my entire life, we are well aware we have been due the next 'big one' since before I was born.

Just as importantly, I like Dean Beck's statement because it also contradicts those who make the deeply insensitive, and in my opinion plain wrong, statements that earthquakes like this are God passing judgement. One such website, which I refuse to link to, has already caused much comment, and hurt, online. I am also saddened by an Auckland pastor who it seems wrote to all MPs after last September's first Christchurch earthquake blaming it on all sorts of government decisions in recent decades - no doubt a follow up email will soon again be heading the way of MPs. That just makes me angry.

Religious nutters made similar "it is God's judgement" claims in the wake of the davastation caused to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Time quickly made a mockery of their claims. Bourbon Street (the renowned 'red light' and night club district in New Orleans), which was supposedly what God was passing judgement on, was up and running within days. But the neighbourhoods the poor called home - for whom God's heart is deepest (read all, yes all, of your bible) - were destroyed. Even today, more than five years later, some are still being rebuilt. The stories of people from those neighbourhoods, including many with a deep and active faith, are still heart rending. It was said at the time that if Hurricane Katrina was God's judgement on New Orleans, then he wasn't much of a God, because he missed!

My bible tells me we are made in God's image. I contend that when we do good things - particularly for people who are hurting - we reflect his image into the situation in which we are acting. And, I contend this remains true whether or not those actions are driven by personal faith on the part of the person doing the good things - as that doesn't change that we were all made in God's image. Whether or not it is your understanding, that, I believe, is the sense in which Dean Beck said:

"The act of God is is how we love each other, how we reach out to one another."

For those who are currently rushing to judgement - at a time needing compassion, not judgement - I ask them to reflect on this statement by one of the wisest people to have ever lived:

Some people make cutting remarks, but the words of the wise bring healing.

Proverbs 12:18 (New Living Translation)

image courtesy (whom I hope will forgive the Copyright violation in the circumstances)


Christchurch Earthquake 22-Feb-2011

Yesterday Christchurch was struck by yet another major earthquake and aftershocks and has suffered unbelievable damage including significant levels of injury and sadly death.

I live in Wellington which is some way from Christchurch and unaffected, but I am currently working in Auckland (even further away) returning home this evening as scheduled.  My family in Wellington are fine.

As far as we can tell our extended family and friends in Christchurch are OK, although some are struggling to contact some family members and are understandably worried.

My company Jireh has team members and customers in Christchurch who are far as we can tell are also OK at a personal level.  We are posting updates on the company website and stand ready to help our customers with their systems when they need us.

However, even those not injured, or suffering deaths within the family, or damage to their property will be going through unbelievable stress and worry.  Their city is damaged beyond belief and will take a long time to rebuild and recover.  Many business and jobs will be at risk, which brings its own stresses.

I am deeply impressed by the response of Christchurch, led by their Mayor Bob Parker, and our country led by Prime Minister John Key. At times like this it is starkly clear what a fantastically supportive country we live in.  The support from the international community, particularly Australia and their Prime Minister Julia Gillard, is deeply moving and very appreciated.

If you wish to help you could donate - The Salvation Army is taking donations.

This event has triggered me to start blogging again here at but I'm most active on my Twitter @GavinKnight.


Sunset over Wellington

The weather hasn't been so good over the last week or so, but November we had an unusually long spell of fine weather which produced some great sunsets like this one - a panorama photo of Wellington taken from Mt Kau Kau.

During 2010 I haven't felt compelled to blog so much but am aiming to reflect on this over our summer break and decide where to take in 2011.

I also plan to get the camera out more and expand my photography skills.


Day Two - Oracle OpenWorld

As we type this it is Wednesday morning here in San Francisco and we are heading into day three of the Oracle OpenWorld conference.

Mark has just been interviewed by Oracle PR talking about our joint JDE customer Bendon.  We expect Oracle to publish a video clip of the interview in a couple months and will feature it here on the Jireh Blog when they have.

Yesterday (Tuesday here in San Francisco) Mark spent a lot of time in the conference demo grounds meeting Oracle people and checking out the latest in JDE and related software, and building our relationships with Oracle.

Gavin took a different approach yesterday and spent a lot of time in conference sessions about JDE and about Fusion Applications.  These sessions provided valuable information on the options the newer releases offer our customers whether they be running JDE on its own (as we expect most JDE customers will operate for some years) or start to supplement JDE with Fusion Applications (which opens up some interesting possibilities - particularly around embedded decision support, embedded reporting and collaboration). Update: Gavin also attended a customer panel of three customers sharing their recent experiences upgrading to JDE EnterpriseOne 9.0 - there were some valuable insights shared.

If you would like to meet up at OpenWorld to discuss how Jireh can help you with your JDE system, or if you have a particular question you would like us to investigate at the conference, please contact us on Twitter (@JirehJDE) or directly:

[cross-posted from the Jireh blog]


Day One - Oracle OpenWorld

As we type this it is Tuesday morning here in San Francisco and we are heading into day two of the Oracle OpenWorld conference.

The conference started for us with Larry Ellison's opening keynote on Sunday evening. He announced some new server products in the Oracle Exadata line, including a new Exalogic middleware machine.

Fusion Apps

The most significant announcement however was that Oracle Fusion Applications will be generally available in the first quarter of the 2011 calendar year. This is a significant announcement - Fusion Apps has already been in development five years and represents the next generation of applications from Oracle. It is likely to be a part of the future for JD Edwards customers at some stage but in our opinion this is unlikely in the next few years. Oracle themselves describe Fusion Apps as 'not instead of, but in addition to' your existing ERP, eg JDE, via Fusion Middleware. Larry himself said that initial adopters - including Oracle themselves - will be 'brave customers'!

We are spending a significant portion of our time here at conference investigating Fusion Apps in more detail. We have already had a hands on session with the software and found it very interesting. We were surprised to see how broad the Fusion Apps functional footprint is already as the messaging to date has been it would initially only have a narrow footprint that would grow over time.

JD Edwards

Yesterday - Monday here - we focused on getting the latest news about JD Edwards. Lyle Ekdahl's keynote (he is Group Vice President responsible for JDE within Oracle) emphasised that they are continuing to invest in JDE and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. Conference announcements included the release of Fullfilment Management which provides more flexibility for allocating inventory to open orders when orders exceed supply. It was also interesting to hear that globally 34% of JDE EnterpriseOne customers are already on a 9.x release.

Lyle also focussed on the new Apparel module for JDE which is in development and expected to be released next year. Lyle highlighted one of our New Zealand customers who has been participating in the beta testing, and she featured in a video.

We also went to a JDE World product strategy and roadmap session. World is still a product with a future and has a loyal customer base in New Zealand. In the five years under Oracle there have been two major releases and a third is being planned. Oracle is working hard to make World more open so it can operate within a Service Oriented Architecture - like their own Fusion Middleware - even though this is more challenging with JDE World than it is with JDE EnterpriseOne. Examples of this are the JDBC driver for World which allows for integrations, including some that have been prebuilt by Oracle, and JDE World can now utilise Oracle BI Publisher which is a reporting and forms tranformation solution within the Oracle Fusion Middleware stack.

We are also renewing, and making new, relationships with key Oracle JDE people.  These relationships are invaluable to our customers and ourselves.

If you would like to meet up at OpenWorld to discuss how Jireh can help you with your JDE system, or if you have a particular question you would like us to investigate at the conference, please contact us on Twitter (@JirehJDE) or directly:

[cross-posted from the Jireh blog]


New Orleans, Five Years On

This time five years ago in late August 2005 Hurricane Katrina had already done it's worst to New Orleans, and the levees were collapsing - leaving the city flooded.

My brother-in-law Mike Brantley was visiting his mother just north of New Orleans at the time and has written movingly of his experiences then, and the pain the city still feels from the political failure to make it right.

Mike and Susanne moved back to New Orleans a year later with their two boys Logan and Jordan to be part of rebuilding the heart and soul of the city. They formed Communitas, through which they minister with Chad & Cindy and others - a team I count as friends.

In 2007 I went to New Orleans to see Mike and Susanne and the Communitas team when I was in the USA on business, and then last year when we took a family holiday there. Both times it was great to spend time with family and friends, to visit and fall in love with the city of New Orleans.

On my second visit I was pleased to see some progress in rebuilding the city - but it still astonishes (and angers) me that political failures mean that a major city in the world's wealthiest country has not been able to be rebuilt as quickly as it should.

Mike writes regularly about their ministry in New Orleans and related topics on his two blogs - if his first blog Out On a Limb is too provocative for you then try out his second blog Live To Be Forgotten which he describes as 'playing nicely' as he's more toned down there!

Image courtesy Marilyn's Poetry.


iPad in NZ

I'm very happy with my iPad 3G which I bought recently. I'm also very happy with my iPhone 3GS which I bought last summer and don't feel compelled to upgrade to an iPhone 4.

I will post a review of my experiences with both soon, including a contrast with my prior business phone the Blackberry Bold.

In the meantime, Black & White has a very good but succinct response from a NZ perspective to common questions about the iPad and iPhone.  If you're interested I suggest you read the whole article, but here is the summary:

Prices in NZ are fair for iPhone 4 and iPad. Both are great devices, but only buy one if you want to. Buy them in NZ, and use them on [Telecom] XT.


SAP up to more than 4 times more costly than JDE

Oracle has recently conducted a case study comparing the cost of ownership for their JD Edwards EnterpriseOne solution (JDE) against SAP in the same company.

Key findings:

  • SAP cost almost twice as much as JDE to implement;
  • SAP costs more than four times as much as JDE in administration per end-user;
  • SAP requires more than four times as many IT support staff as does JDE;
  • SAP has ongoing costs more than four times as much as JDE.

What is particularly interesting about this study - apart from the findings! - is that the comparison is between two similar divisions of the same company running similar business processes, so it is almost a direct comparison and therefore the findings are more compelling.

Oracle have given permission for us to share the case study, so please email me if you want a copy.

Gavin Knight, Director of Business Consulting, Jireh Consulting Services

cross-posted from Jireh's blog


My Facebook is for Personal Connections

It is my policy to only accept Facebook 'friend' requests from people I know personally, but usually not from those I only know professionally. This policy is not meant to cause offense, or disengage me from the online world.

Recently I have noticed I am increasingly being asked to 'friend' someone on Facebook who I don't know personally. My usual practice with these requests (when the person appears genuine) is to respond back with a private message through Facebook asking whether or not we have actually met. Given how active I am on other public forms (e.g. this blog, Twitter, LinkedIn) some seem surprised to find out that I reserve Facebook for connecting with people I know personally. I had such a conversation earlier today.

One of the key reasons for this policy is that (for their personal safety) we have always required our (now teenage) kids to only 'friend' people online that they know and would count as a friend in the physical world (family also counts!). To demonstrate to them the importance of this policy I follow the same policy for my own Facebook, and insist on being connected as 'friends' with them. From time to time we are allowed to check each other's 'friends' lists against this policy - and we do so. My kids are surprised at how many people their Dad knows!

The other reason is that I also like that I can keep at least one online forum (currently Facebook) more private. I am publicly active on enough public online forums as it is!

What is your policy?

Please note that I am well aware that privacy concerns with Facebook are increasing and that the policy described above could therefore be a bit of a mirage. However, until there is an alternative online forum where we can find most of the people we know then the reality is that Facebook will continue to perform this role in our lives.


The Chicken Came First


Rethinking my blogging strategy

I'm rethinking my blogging strategy.

Rather than go for less frequent well thought out articles on my four main topics maybe I'll just go for more frequent quick thought pieces on a wider range of topics.

This post is also to test emailing in a blog post. Including with a photo attached.


Snow on the Tararuas

After last week's awful weather we are now in the middle of a massive high which is bringing spectacular calm weather to Wellington.

A good thing about last week's nasty weather was that it dumped snow in the Tararuas (which I enjoyed on my tramp there over the weekend) which makes for a spectacular view - click on the image to the left to see a larger version.

I have put further photos of other view angles in my Wellington photo set on Flickr.


Jumbo Hut in Winter

This past weekend I went into the Tararuas with a church group of 15; comprising 12 men and 3 of our teenage sons. Here in NZ we call it tramping - but my international readers probably know it better as hiking.

On Saturday morning we walked 2 hours to Atiwhakatu Hut from the Holdsworth entrance to the Tararua Forest Park (near Masterton). It’s a good quality track under the cover of reasonably dense bush so we weren't too concerned about weather for that part of the trip. This was despite the nasty winter weather during the week leading up to our trip (which had caused a fair few risk assessment email conversations during the latter half of the week!).

The weather was scheduled to clear on Sunday but fortunately it cleared by Saturday lunchtime. So we continued on up to Jumbo Hut after having lunch at Atiwhakatu Hut. If the weather hadn't cleared we would have stayed at Atiwhakatu (we chose this route specifically to have this option). The climb to Jumbo took between 2 and 3 hours depending on individual's fitness and climbing speed.

The carpark is at 300m, Atiwhakatu Hut is at 500m and Jumbo Hut is at 1200m. So our altitude gain was about 900m - with 700m of that the steep walk (climb!) up to Jumbo. This climb is not to be under-estimated. It challenged many in our group - including myself, and I had done it before, so knew what was ahead! The only way to approach it is to just keep going - eventually you will get there!

What we were thrilled to find as we walked up Jumbo was snow on the ground in the bush - which became deeper and deeper as we climbed. By the time we got to the hut just above the bushline it was 6" to 1' deep! The bush just below Jumbo looks like a 'goblin forest' anyway but with snow like this it looks more like Narnia.  Spectacular. It was wonderful to see our boys having a great time simply enjoying the outdoors.

The weather was unbelievably calm - particularly when we got to Jumbo. There was no wind and what little cloud there was went away just after sundown to reveal a starlit sky. We could also see lights from the towns of the Wairarapa laid out before us - Masterton, Carterton, Greytown and Martinborough (Featherston is out of view from Jumbo).

The hut water tanks and pipes had frozen so we had to melt snow for water.

We got the weather forecast for the next day during the scheduled mountain radio call at 6:30pm while we were having dinner - we had taken radios because we were an organised group of 15.

Officially Jumbo Hut holds 20 but with our group of 15 and a few other groups and solos coming in for the night it stretched quite ably to handle 24.

Sunday morning some of our group went another 100m+ up Jumbo to check out the spectacular views from the tops.

We then went back the way we had come, with lunch at Atiwhakatu on the way - arriving back at the carpark late afternoon.

An all round wonderful weekend spent enjoying good company and this wonderful country God has made for us to enjoy (and protect).

The photo at left is of our group assembled outside Jumbo Hut late Saturday afternoon just before sundown - with the Wairarapa plain spread out behind us.  Further photos on Facebook (public album, Facebook account not required).


Mid-Winter Sunset in Makara

Joel and I went to Makara this afternoon - walked up the hills, played in the rock pools, fished, etc.

One of our favourite haunts.

Ending up staying past sundown.

This is why.