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      • McCullough makes jump to world champs team
        • 18 Jun 2015
        • Newswire.co.nz
        • BASKETBALL is taking Nikau McCullough to the other side of the world at just 18 years of age. McCullough (right) has been selected for the New Zealand Under-18 team for the FIBA 3×3 World Championships in Hungary. Next month’s trip is another achievement to add to McCullough’s long basketball resume. The Waikato native has travelled the world and participated in prestigious global basketball camps such as Basketball without Boarders and Adidas Nations, which cater to the top under-18 basketball players around the world. McCullough, who was named Waikato secondary school sportsman of the year in 2014, moved to Porirua to play for the defending National Basketball league (NBL) champions, the Wellington Saints. He made the move to the capital so that he could train with the best and prepare himself for the more physical side of the game against grown men. “I just finished school so I think it would be good to train with men. Just that physical and professional aspect, training every day, just getting out of that schoolboy mentality,” McCullough says. Like most young aspiring basketballers in New Zealand, McCullough hopes to earn a basketball scholarship to play college ball in America. He believes his time with the Saints, along with his selection to the New Zealand U-18 3×3 team, will help his chances of getting to the US. Aside from the talent pool in America, there is another hurdle all kiwi athletes face when competing for places in US colleges. “A lot of it is education. Like my SATs. I’m just trying to study for those,” Nikau says. The SAT test assesses a student’s readiness for college. All student athletes must pass the test. The dream to play basketball started at a crossroads when Nikau was contemplating other sports he was involved in at a young age, like rugby and touch rugby. Once he realised his love for basketball, he chose to solely invest his time into the sport. McCullough will travel with his New Zealand teammates to Colorado Springs on May 27 to train with the USA 3×3 team before heading to the world championships. The world champs are in Debrecen, Hungary June 4-7. New Zealand won the competition in its first year of 2011 with a team which starred current Tall Blacks Isaac Fotu and Tai Webster. Both players went on to receive US division one basketball scholarships following the tournament. Much like the rugby sevens is to the fifteen a side game, 3×3 is a form of the more commonly known five-a-side game of basketball, but played three-a-side using only one hoop. This basketball discipline is currently being promoted and structured by FIBA, the sport’s governing body.   Video: https://youtu.be/NDjabL-0ccs

      • Higher life expectancy for Maori not good enough
        • 18 Jun 2015
        • Newswire.co.nz
        • LIFE expectancy is increasing for Maori, but there is still a lot of work to be done say two Porirua men working in the health field. The gap between Maori and non-Maori life expectancy at birth has narrowed to 7.1 years (average of male and female combined) in 2012–14. This compares with 8.2 years in 2005–07, according to the New Zealand Period Life Tables: 2012–14 released by Statistics New Zealand last month. Life expectancy at birth is 77.1 years for Maori females and 73.0 years for Maori males, compared with 83.9 years for non-Maori females and 80.3 years for non-Maori males. Ngati Toa Kaumatua Taku Parai (right) works in primary health and says the statistics for Maori living longer has improved, but it is still nowhere near as good as non-Maori. “I think it has come down to a variety of factors. One is that we are living longer because we are more aware of the importance of eating better.” “Exercise is another one, taking better care of our self,” Parai says. However Mr Parai would like the gap between Maori and non-Maori life expectancy to be a lot better. “It still doesn’t take away the fact that we are, by enlarge, still suffering the most in our country through all determinates of health, such as cardiac, asthma, and diabetes.” “Obviously non-Maori are in the higher income bracket. “They can afford better food, they are more aware than we are in terms of how important it is to get to a doctor without any delay, and that’s all around affordability and costs, as a barrier for our people,” Parai says. He says some of the barriers Maori face today could have been avoided. “The Treaty of Waitangi says in Article Three, that the Queen promised our people that we would have the same opportunities as British subjects, which means, why don’t I have equal or the same health outcomes as my Pakeha Treaty partner?” “Colonial government, through to the governments of the last century, have dragged their feet in terms of realising the resource’s that is required for our people to get up to the same level as non-Maori.” “They have never been forthcoming with those resources which is why we still lag behind them in terms of our health parity.” “If we signed the Treaty we should have the same outcomes as British subjects, so I don’t know what happened there,” Mr Parai said. Nearly one-quarter of the gains in life expectancy were due to decreased death rates for both males and females aged 60–69 years. Females in particular experienced lower death rates at the older ages (70+), while males made greater improvements than females in ages 20–49 years. According to Mortality and demographic data 2011, age-standardised death rates from chronic rheumatic heart disease and diabetes were substantially higher for Māori than for non-Māori. Age-standardised death rates were also significantly higher for Māori from lung cancer, cervical cancer, chronic lower respiratory diseases (including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), and hypertensive disease. In contrast, Māori had lower age-standardised death rates than non-Māori from melanoma, and pneumonia and influenza. Cancer Society New Zealand’s National Men’s Health Coordinator, Steve Kenny, says the state of Maori health depends on other economic and social factors around them, such as employment and housing. “It’s good to have community led and run programs and it’s also about improving our places to walk, cycle, and run, while improving our urban design so we’ve got really good lights to be able to walk at night time. “We need wider bicycle paths, walking paths and things like that.” “If you go into the poorer areas of Porirua, they don’t have any of that, there’s just houses and houses and no safe way for them to be walking and running around.” Mr Kenny also works as a Ngati Toa representative for the Takapuwahia Village Strategy committee.  

      • Statistics show marriage may be back in vogue after long decline
        • 18 Jun 2015
        • Newswire.co.nz
        • MARRIAGE may be coming back into fashion. Last year more New Zealand couples decided to tie-the-knot, ending a steady decline in marriage rates. Statistics New Zealand shows an 8.8 percent rise in the marriage rates of New Zealanders for the year ending in December 2014, compared to the previous year. Prior to 2014 marriage rates of New Zealand residents had been dropping since 1989. A total of 20,125 New Zealand marriages took place last year, rising from 19,237 the year before. Of the 20,125 marriages in 2014, 486 were same-sex marriages. Celebrants spoken to by Newswire said that the rise was due to gay marriage being legalised in New Zealand. However, same-sex marriage only accounts for half of the rise. When asked why more Kiwi couples were tying the knot, local celebrant Rachel Dudfield said the weddings she had performed were not spontaneous acts of love. All of the couples Rachel has worked with have been together for a minimum of three years, with the longest being 18 years. She also performs many second marriages. “Around half of the weddings I’m performing are second marriages,” says Rachel. She suggests the idea of marriage had gone out of fashion and New Zealanders were content with living together, but recently the tides have turned and marriage is back on the table. “The thing to do now is to get married,” she says. The most marriages in New Zealand occurred in 1984 when 25,272 residents wed. Former Celebrants Association president Elizabeth Bennett says several factors affected the number of marriages. “If you compare the rate of marriage 20 years ago to now, it’s decreased,” she said. “A lot of people are delaying when they get married. Women are having a more prominent role in the workforce, people travel more than they used to and so on.” The divorce rate has also dropped in the last 10 years. In 2014, 8171 divorces were passed by the Family Court, dropping from 8279 in 2013. The drop equates to 9.1 divorces for every 1000 estimated existing marriages and civil unions in 2014.

      • International visitors rise boosting Hawke’s Bay economy
        • 18 Jun 2015
        • Newswire.co.nz
        • ON THE MOVE: Takaro Trails founder Jenny Ryan. Image takarotrails.co.nz HAWKE’S BAY is cashing in on the rise of international visitors in New Zealand. Bay tourism operators says overseas visitors numbers are up and they are bigger spenders than Kiwis. Nationally visitor arrivals were up 6% in April, compared to April 2014, according to the latest international travel and migration figures released by Statistics New Zealand. In April 2015 there were 238,000 international visitors, up from 224,194 in April 2014. The total was a record high for an April month. In the year to April 2015 numbers rose 6.7 percent to a total of 2,961,673. The total for the year to April 2014 for overseas arrivals was 2,775,868. Hawke’s Bay Tourism general manager Annie Dundas says the amount that overseas visitors spend is the most measurable benefit. Visitors contribute $554m into the Hawke’s Bay economy each year, up from $400m in 2009. Ms Dundas says in times of prosperity new businesses will emerge. “The introduction of the Hawke’s Bay Cycle Trails has meant a number of cycling related businesses have opened,” she says. One such business, Takaro Trails, has been running for six years and is located in Napier. Owner Jenny Ryan says the business gets 60% international and 40 percent domestic visitors. “International visitors stay longer. They also book higher standard accommodation,” says Jenny Ryan. International visitors stay five to seven days, and domestic visitors stay three to four days, she says Black Barn Vineyard manager Francis De Jager echoes Ms Ryan comments. “Overseas visitor’s guests have a higher spend, it benefits the business.” Black Barn Vineyards is a boutique vineyard located five minutes from the village of Havelock North, Hastings. Mr De Jager says the business gets 30% international and 70% domestic visitors. The business markets internationally with inbound tour and cruise ship operators. “We get international visitors mainly from Australia, United Kingdom, The United States and Central Europe,” he says.    

      • Employed Kiwis happier – but it has to be the right job
        • 18 Jun 2015
        • Newswire.co.nz
        • JOBS make Kiwis happy, but it has to be the right job. The fourth annual survey about the wellbeing of New Zealanders show those with jobs are more satisfied and have more purpose in life than those without. In the Statistics New Zealand survey just over 7 in 10 (70.5 percent) of those unemployed rated their overall life satisfaction highly (7-10 on a 0-10 scale) and just under three quarters (73.1 percent) of those unemployed rated their sense of purpose highly using the same scale. In comparison, over 8 in 10 employed people (84.4 percent) say they are highly satisfied with their lives, and nearly 9 in 10 (89 percent) rated their sense of purpose at 7 or above. The survey of the 8795 respondents focused on two parts of personal wellbeing – overall life satisfaction and sense of purpose. People spoken to by Newswire agree that employment is important to well-being, but happiness has more to do with liking your job than just having one. Michael Speights (29), left, says though he is not currently employed, employment has a “massive say” in how happy someone is and that it is dependent on why someone is working a particular job. “I think people find out very quickly that they need to do things that they like, and I think that’s what may bring self-purpose.” Photography business owner Michael Valli (30), right, thinks life satisfaction and sense of purpose is “extremely” affected by employment. “It affects it in a large way. It’s my driving force. If I don’t work, I don’t earn, I don’t support my family.” Student and retail worker Hannah Symonds (20), left, says employment can affect someone’s sense of purpose: “If you feel like you’re not doing well at work it feels like you’re kind of failing.” Retiree Judith Brennan (78) says employment is vital in having a sense of purpose: “It’s important to be employed otherwise they just don’t really get around to doing anything.” Café Owner Simon Edmonds (52) says his job makes him happy: “I think I feel good about my sense of purpose, providing something that enriches people’s lives, and really trying to minimise my impact on the environment.” Engineer Jordan Glasby (28) thinks whether a job is enjoyed or not reflects on overall life satisfaction: “It’s kind of what it’s all about. If you’re not enjoying what you’re doing you’re just not a happy person.” The New Zealand General Social Survey also found people aged 65 and over were more likely to be satisfied with their lives than younger age groups, with 85.9 percent rating their overall life satisfaction highly and 89.8 percent rating their sense of purpose highly. Statistics New Zealand says financial security and a better work/life balance may be the reasons for the age factor. Sole parents have lower sense of purpose and overall life satisfaction than other family types, with just over two-thirds of those in sole-parent families (69.6 percent) rating their overall life satisfaction at 7 or above. In comparison, Statistics New Zealand says those living in couple family types, with or without children, had the highest self-rated well-being of all family types. Between 85.2 and 90.2 percent of people in these two groups reported overall life satisfaction and sense of purpose at 7 or above. According to the survey, Māori and Pacific people are less likely to rate their well-being at 7 or above. Just over three-quarters of Māori (77.8 percent) rated their overall life satisfaction highly, and 83.6 percent rated their sense of purpose highly. Almost 8 in 10 Pacific people (78.1 percent) rated their overall life satisfaction highly, and 81.7 percent rated their sense of purpose highly. People with no qualifications have a lower self-rated well-being with just over three quarters (76.8 percent) rating their overall life satisfaction over 7, and 81.8 percent rating their sense of purpose over 7.

      • Drivers adjusting their travel as fuel prices start to bite
        • 18 Jun 2015
        • Newswire.co.nz
        • FUEL SPENDING with electronic cards in the last month has increased by 4.8%, the biggest increase in the last 12 months. The increase has seen $28 million more being spent with electronic cards on fuel in the month of May 2015 compared to April 2015. May’s increase of $28 million almost triples the increase of $10 million in April 2015, according to Statistics New Zealand’s latest Electronic Card Transactions data. After dropping late last year, many parts of the North Island saw huge jumps in fuel prices during May, with 20 to 30 cent increases as prices rose to match the rest of the country. Newswire asked members of the public if they change their fuel spending habits as fuel prices change. Shane Roberts (48): “Definitely, as fuel prices have risen we have gone on fewer trips because we have other bills to pay”. Jane Baxter (45): “No, but we did buy a Diesel 4WD to replace our petrol one because it costs $160 to fill up with petrol weekly, which was too much”. Kirk Hodgson (26): “Yes because I ride my bike most of the time and only drive when necessary”. Christine Vorster (25): “My fuel spending usually stays rather consistent but I do spend more if prices go up to keep up with my weekly demand”. Yutian Liu (28): “Yes, I usually go away more if petrol is cheaper”. Dina Patel (47): “No, I work 7 days a week so I have to be spending enough to get me to work every day”. Fuel spending helped increase overall electronic card spending after a decrease in April 2015. The total value of electronic card spending, including two non-retail industries (services and other non-retail), rose 1.4 percent in May 2015. This rise follows a 1.2 percent fall in April, says Statistics New Zealand. Retail spending using electronic cards rose by 1.2 percent in May 2015, following a 0.7 percent fall in April and 0.7 percent rise in March this year. In actual terms, card-holders made 125 million transactions across all industries in May, with an average value of $49. The total amount spent across all transactions was $6.2 billion. Electronic card systems have recently been upgraded making them easier to use. Most debit and credit cards now have the contactless payment such as Pay Wave, Pay Pass). Newswire asked the public if new contactless payment systems made it more likely to spend money with an electronic card. Twyla Gillan (27): “No I don’t think it makes people use their cards more because people just use eftpos anyway”. Kitty Hart (30): “Yes, I come from Melbourne and everyone over there uses it all the time because it’s so much quicker”. Kirk Hodgson (26): “No I don’t think it makes you any more likely to use a card”. Yutian Liu (28): “Yes I do because it’s a lot easier than paying with cash”. Dina Patel (47): “I have never used it because I don’t trust it, any person off the street could use it, I always put my pin in”. Shane Roberts (48): “Yes I think it does because it’s just so easy”.

      • PHOTO ESSAY: Hurricanes closing in on finals appearance
        • 15 May 2015
        • Newswire.co.nz
        • THE HURRICANES battled it out against the Crusaders at Westpac Stadium on Saturday May 2. The Hurricanes hoped for a win on their home ground while the Crusaders needed a win after a string of losses this season. A cold night didn’t prevent fans from filling half the stadium with the Hurricanes coming out victorious 29-23, taking them a step closer to the play-offs. To view photo essay click here

      • Karori’s local library may be getting more than a new coat of paint.
        • 15 May 2015
        • Newswire.co.nz
        • KARORI people might see more than a new paint job when their library reopens on May 25. Library manager Karl Gaskin says the 10-year-old building is getting its first make-over. “This is the first scheduled major renewal of maintenance for this building and the first time we have had to close the library. “While we have the opportunity while we’re closed we are going to put a lot of thought into how the library is laid out,” Mr Gaskin says. Asked if he had any ideas for the library, Mr Gaskin said he would “like to achieve a living room effect”. “Perhaps having all the gardening books in one place so customers sit down and browse, instead of marching along rows and rows and rows.” Mr Gaskin says groups of friends hang out at the library. “We want to make more comfortable seating areas for our customers.” While closed the nearby community centre will be receiving Karori Library’s newspapers so regular customers can read them. “There are people who come in purely to read the newspaper or to use the internet,” Mr Gaskin says. Before their closure the library issued items well past the closure date so users did not have to return them during the closure. Mr Gaskin also says the library is waving the fee for returning books to other Wellington City libraries. Library users spoken to by NewsWire were mostly aware of the closure, and used the venue in a range of ways. Raymond (89) visits “maybe once a week, to have a look at the Auckland papers”. Dave McPhee comes to the library “a few times a week to have a read”. Trish Scot (46) is an occasional user. “Just occasionally when I’m in Karori, it’s just down the road from my daughter’s drama class.”  

      • City cyclists in for safer ride, but there’s still more talk before action
        • 15 May 2015
        • Newswire.co.nz
        • The future of cycling in Wellington is looking safer judging by the city’s proposed new cycle framework – but sign-off will depend on public feedback which closes at the end of May. The proposal was been a long time coming and was given one final push by local Wellington cyclists. Over 300 cyclists came together to ride from the train station to Civic Square last month to show the council a safer cycling infrastructure needs to be in place in the city. Cyclists can comment on the cycling framework until consultation closes on May 29. Cycling Advocates Network had been using the slogan ‘Get on with it’ to promote the rally, as well as volunteers handing out flyers to cyclists. Patrick Morgan, (top), the spokesperson for Cycle Aware Wellington, says there is so much talk from the council but so little action. “Cycling is a bit of a political football and they have let that get in the way of protecting Wellingtonians that ride bikes,” says Patrick Morgan. The proposed full cycle network which will connect the central city to the suburbs as well as connecting to the Hutt Valley. The network will over 10 years connect more than 50 schools and 20,000 businesses making for a more accessible city by bike. Councillor David Lee was at the rally and supports the framework. “They have finally put together a plan for a safer cycle network in the city,” Mr Lee says. He hopes the Island Bay cycleway in his Southern Ward will not be delayed by the proposal of a full city network. The Island bay cycleway has been a political issue with constant delays over the last few years. He says it has been hijacked by politics and if they weren’t involved, the cycleway would be done already. “For the Island Bay section there is a group being set up to sort out traffic resolutions, work could physically start in late June or early July,” Mr Lee says. The framework proposes $45 million dollars will be put into a new cycle infrastructure in Wellington over the next 10 years. Traffic in the city will also be affected but Mr Lee believes safer speed zones should be put in place with the network to make the city safer. “Cycling is faster and easier for a lot of people. It’s a no brainer that we provide a safer cycle network.”

      • Crowds still pouring into Te Papa for Anzacs
        • 15 May 2015
        • Newswire.co.nz
        • HAUNTING, EMOTIONAL AND stunning are some of the words being used by the thousands of people lining up to see the ‘The Scale of Our War’ exhibition at TePapa Museum. Two thousand people visited the exhibition each day over ANZAC weekend following the opening. With only 200 people allowed inside the exhibition at one time, thousands of people have been queuing outside TePapa, leading to wait times of up to two hours. Senior communications advisor Rachel Bruce says the numbers coming through the display have been overwhelming. “Most mornings there is a large line across the Wellington foyer queuing to see it and weekends have been exceptionally busy since opening,” she says. TePapa collaborated with Weta Workshop to create and house the display which opened on April 18. The exhibition consists of an interactive timeline beginning with the ANZAC troops landing on the shores of Gallipoli in 1915. At the end of the exhibition there is the option to write a message on the back of memorial poppies and place it on one of the exhibits. A recent comment from a young visitor reads: “Thank-you soldier. I’m so sorry. I want to make it better for you. Sleep well.” Although parental guidance is recommended, there have not been any reports of frightened children. The Scale of Our War has received positive feedback, with many impressed by the detail. BRILLIANT EXHIBITION: Helen Painter (left) and Hilary Southen. Senior citizens Hilary Southen and Helen Painter described the exhibition as absolutely brilliant. “”We just think it’s great. We can’t get over these big figures,” Hilary says. “They went to an awful lot of trouble,” Helen says. Both women understand the Gallipoli landing a lot more and think it is beneficial for kids learning about the war. “Now they really know what ANZAC’s all about,” says Hilary. Mother Angela King found the exhibition realistic. “Some of it is quite confronting,” she says. Rachel Bruce says the general public has responded positively to the exhibition. “Comments like the ‘best exhibition ever’, ‘it gave me goosebumps’, ‘haunting’, ‘emotional’, and ‘stunning’ have become the norm,” says Rachel. The exhibition has also become a tool for teachers across the country. Last week more than 200 teachers visited TePapa guided by museum educators to explore the exhibition and the connections to student learning. The Gallipoli Education Program is also run by TePapa and involves guiding children through the exhibition to learn and understand what happened at Gallipoli during the war. The free exhibition will run until November 11, 2018.

      • New theatre company aims to help bring life to Hutt city centre
        • 12 May 2015
        • Newswire.co.nz
        • A NEW theatre company in Lower Hutt is aiming to bring life back into the city, says one of its founders Carmel McGlone. “When you bring theatre to a city, you bring cafes, you bring restaurants, when you bring theatre to a city, you bring life,” Ms McGlone says. The company, called NextStage, is using the old Little Theatre as its home. “It is a gorgeous space. It has an orchestral pit and a curtain and is perfect for what we want,” says Ms McGlone (right). Ms McGlone says the company is the vision of Geraldine Brophy, who was born in the Hutt and is best known for her work on Shortland Street. Along with Ms Brophy and Ms McGlone, who have worked together on many other projects, Catherine Downes and Ross Joblin, Ms Brophy’s husband, are also involved in the creation of NextStage. “Gerry and I have worked together and Cathy and I have worked together, but this is the first time the three of us are all together,” says Ms McGlone, who is also an acting tutor at the Whitirea Polytechnic Performing Arts. She says the company is like the next stage in their lives. The Little Theatre was built by a theatrical architect in 1954, next to the War Memorial Museum, and was built because people thought function spaces would benefit the community more than a monument. “It will be wonderful to have Little Theatre used to its full potential, with a very welcome resident professional theatre company. This is a great addition to the city’s cultural and artistic assets,” says Lower Hutt Mayor Ray Wallace. The company’s inaugural production was written by Ms Brophy and is called Sleeping Around, which runs from May 11 to May 14.

      • Kiwi wins sci-fi trip to US for L. Ron Hubbard Illustrators of Future
        • 11 May 2015
        • Newswire.co.nz
        • IMAGE: Supplied Amit Dutta. IMAGE: Colin Engelbrecht. AN UPPER HUTT freelance illustrator has won a major prize in an international illustration competition. Amit Dutta, who is a self-taught freelance illustrator, won the L. Ron Hubbard Illustrators of The Future competition and a prize including a cheque and a place at an illustration workshop in America. He started teaching himself three years ago after attending a two day concept design workshop in Wellington, run by Paul Tobin, a senior concept artist at Weta Workshop. The Illustrators of The Future competition is run every three months and three winners are selected each time. At the workshop in Los Angeles, the winners meet with big names in the industry. Amit Dutta who returned from the workshop last month says the schedule was pretty intense, some days they worked more than 11 hours. He says one of the best experiences at the workshop was doing the 24 hour illustration. During this they met Cliff Nielsen, an illustrator who worked on The Chronicles of Narnia and the Cirque Du Freak series. Other big names present at the workshop included agents and members from renowned art colleges like the Art Centre College of Design in Pasadena. One of Amit’s winning illustrations. IMAGE: Supplied “The great thing about this completion is that no pros are allowed,” Amit Dutta says. Entrants cannot participate if their work has been published in three or more publications or if they have been paid for it, meaning that this is a great opportunity for amateurs to get some experience. Despite being named after the founder of Scientology, the competition is not linked to it. “It’s a shame people automatically link the two,” says Amit Dutta. You can see Amit’s work on his blog at http://monkeybreadart.tumblr.com/

      • Hawaiian group feel right at home in NZ
        • 4 May 2015
        • Newswire.co.nz
        • Michael Lanakila Casupang (center) with former hula students after their performance at Te Papa Marae. A HAWAIIAN dance group visiting New Zealand has noticed a definite resemblance between their culture and Maori. Pūpūkahi I Ke Alo O Nā Pua is a hula group from Honolulu, which spent a little under a week in Wellington. They were hosted at Maraeroa Marae in Porirua, and performed at Te Papa. The group is made up of students attending Mid-Pacific Institute, and their families, and is led by Kumu Hula (Hula Master) Michael Lanakila Casupang. Mr Lanakila Casupang says the main similarity the group noticed between the two cultures is the language. “There are so many similar words that further cement that we are from the same place, and at one time were the same people,” he says. Historically, hula has been used to document stories and traditions, and Mr Lanakila Casupang says the dance cannot exist without the language. He says the travel the group does gives them a chance to discover the culture of the places they travel to. “Beyond the culture, it allows them to develop themselves as individuals.” It’s important for them to share Hawaiian culture and traditions with the world because it lets them show who they are, and to let people know Hawaiian dance is not just like “the hula girl on the dashboard”. The group’s name means “united as one in the presence of the flowers.” Mr Lanakila Casupang says unity among the students is something they collectively strive for. “You can see when they get along and love each other that their performance has a higher level of pureness to it, and spirituality.” “When we come together, we come together in unity and acceptance of all people no matter how they were raised.”        

      • Police deploying more officers to high risk areas across region
        • 30 Apr 2015
        • Newswire.co.nz
        • A SHIFT in focus to crime prevention has seen police resources moved away from community based constables to specially focused teams placed in high risk areas. Crime Prevention Team Supervisor, Sergeant Jonathan Westrupp, says high risk areas like Cannons Creek , Naenae and Courtenay Place all have dedicated policing teams consisting of six officers, responsible for crime prevention and policing . A team of four officers will take responsibility for policing the lower risk wider Porirua area. “This doesn’t mean that there will be fewer officers in lower risk areas, there are still the same amount of police officers as before, they’re just being deployed more effectively,” sergeant Westrupp says. The smaller crime prevention team is currently running a project in the Porirua CBD aimed at preventing shoplifting and lowering rates of offending in public places. “We’re focusing on boosting public perception of the CBD as being a safe place,” he says. They’ve partnered with agencies like the Porirua City Council and Ngati-Toa to help achieve this goal. Family violence is another area to see change. It used to be the responsibility of just one officer, the community constable, but will now be covered by the constable and two others, a Detective Sergeant and a Detective. Police officers now have iPhones with specialised police apps allowing them to be more mobile. They can be dispatched to a callout via the phone, and also dictate details to a typist based elsewhere and have those details emailed back to them. Part of the new preventative measures include police referring victims on to services that can help prevent future problems. Sergeant Westrupp says, for example, if there was a burglary at a government owned property, the officer could refer the victim to Housing New Zealand to have window latches installed, or whatever was required to stop it happening again. “Prevention should be the first thing we consider,” he says.

      • Anzac weekend chance to get on war footing in Wrights Hill tunnels
        • 22 Apr 2015
        • Newswire.co.nz
        • KARORI’S Wrights Hill Fortress will open to the public this ANZAC weekend By 1943 the war had turned against the Japanese and the fort’s construction slowed. The guns at the fortress were only ever fired six times  and never used against an enemy. During the ANZAC weekend open days the society will screen a film showing how the guns at the fortress operate. “But ironically the fort’s guns were scrapped and sold to the Japanese in 1960,” says Mike Lee, chair of the Wrights Hill Restoration Society. Concrete used for the construction came from nearby Makara and was mixed at the site. Since 1992, The Wrights Hill Restoration Society has maintained site and is responsible for the many open days at the fort. Proceeds from the open days are used to fund the restoration work. Mr Lee says restoration work is ongoing, and restoring the fortress to its original state is still a long way off. Since restoration work began the society has fully rewired the fort enabling interior lighting to be installed. They have also recreated the fort’s command room using historically accurate items. In the future they hope to have a sound system installed in the fort. Although the fort’s interior is fully lit, people are encouraged to bring torches for self-guided tours. “I’m bit anxious about people wearing unsuitable footwear, moisture can make the floors slippery.” While the society has never had an accident they just want people to be safe Mr Lee says. There will be food and drink available to buy as well as a view of Wellington and picnic sites. The fortress will be open to the public from 10am till 4pm on April 25 and 26. There is an entry cost and the society is reminding the public that it’s cash only, as there is no EFTPOS facility  

      • Principal of Porirua’s Ngati Toa Primary School gets to walk the talk
        • 22 Apr 2015
        • Newswire.co.nz
        • KAYE BRUNTON who spent five years advising other people on running a school is now running her own. The new principal of Porirua’s Ngati Toa Primary School gets to walk the talk, and is hoping to make a huge impact on the school’s success. Kaye, right, who took up the reins in October says she’s happy to be sitting on the other side of the fence now. “I had a lot in my head around how the job should be and how the job should look, I just actually hadn’t done it, which is what brought me to the school,” she says. The principal is embracing technology as a learning tool for her students. “Our year four class is going to become a digitised class where the children will largely work with their devices rather than with books and pens,” she says. Kaye Brunton says they’ve been preparing this term by getting the kids learning about email, google docs, and how to share their work, as well as how to be cyber safe. Ngati Toa is also facing another challenge. The school recently had its decile rating raised from two to four, and the board of trustees is planning to appeal the decision because they say it’s not a true representation of their school community. “We’re not hopeful really that there’s going to be much of a change but we’re appealing it because we felt we probably would go up, but not as significantly as we did,” she says. A rise in decile rating means a loss of some government funding which will force them to look at alternative funding options. The appeal will go through at the end of the month after they have collected the information they need from student’s families. Meanwhile it’s business as usual, and the school has plans to visit Takapuwahia Marae at the end of the month to give the students an understanding of where the name of their school comes from, and an insight of the history of Ngati Toa and its community.

      • Council happy to know students are aware of The Pack app for partying
        • 22 Apr 2015
        • Newswire.co.nz
        • THREE years after being released, The Pack app is still being used to keep people safe in Wellington at night. ‘Stick with the pack’ is a safe drinking initiative aimed at 18-25 year olds out for a night on the town. When programme organisers at Wellington City Council surveyed university students this year, a majority of the students recognised the app and the message. “Going up to unis this year and talking to people, people recognise it and they know the message” says City Safe Advisor Sophie Parsons (26). “People responded well to that message, but we kind of wanted to go a bit deeper than that,” Mrs Parsons says. “Research went into establishing how young people behave in groups, which is where the pack concept comes from.” The Pack, a phone application made by Rabid Technologies, was made to help people keep track of their friends who they added to their “pack” on the app. The council worked with Rabid Technologies and five design students from Massey University to help develop the application. “Initially, it did really well. We had 3000 downloads, up to 200 people in the weekend using it,” says Mrs Parsons, left. Mrs Parsons says the main thing was that people know the message, a fact backed up by Victoria University students spoken to by NewsWire. Jack Armstrong (20), right, says it is a good concept to keep safe, although he had never used it. “I probably should as I always walk off.” Jarrod Shera (20) was told about it in his first year. “But I never had to or needed to download it. I think it’ll be a good way of keeping informed about your friends though.” Sophie Cunningham (19) says would use it but I did not think her friends would when we’re in town. “It’s a bit impractical because people will probably be too drunk to use it.” Emily Devaney (19) does not use the app. “I really liked the advertising they did for it though.” Alice Mercep (18) thinks it’s a good idea. “But I’m not too sure it would be that effective because everyone would be drunk. I would be willing to try the app though.” Fady Girgis (20), left, says was told about it in his first year but lives in town so does not need to use it.  

      • WATCH: Financial aftershocks of the Christchurch quake in capital
        • 22 Apr 2015
        • Newswire.co.nz
        • THE FINANCIAL aftershocks of the Christchurch earthquake are still being felt in Wellington as property owners of earthquake prone buildings struggle to upgrade their buildings. Two impacted owners are Victoria Quade, who owns an apartment in the inner city, and Tineke La Plant, who lives in the iconic ‘wedge’ building in Newtown. Ms Quade is a self-employed solo mother. Her apartment block was strengthened to 67% of the required standard in the late 1990′s. Since the building code was changed, her building no longer meets the standard and around $2 million dollars of upgrade work is now required. In addition to her share of the upgrade costs of $100,000, Ms Quade is also required to pay around $9,000 per year in insurance – three times what it cost a few years ago. Ms La Plant is in a similar position, although at the age of 74 her options are limited. The costs of upgrading her heritage building have not yet been assessed, but are expected to be high and beyond her limited means. The combined cost of her sharply increased insurance and her utilities takes up most of her weekly pension. She is forced to continue working as a self-employed art restorer to buy groceries. Last year she tried to sell, but buyers were put off because of the uncertainty about costs. The two women are not alone, hundreds of property owners are affected. The range of responses includes everything from getting on with the work to doing nothing. Wellington city council is assisting with the costs of assessments for heritage buildings and with rates relief in appropriate cases, but has limited funds. Should central government be providing financial assistance?                      

      • Outsourcing of Maori programming still raw, but the show goes on
        • 20 Apr 2015
        • Newswire.co.nz
        • OUTSOURCING DEAL: Good for producers, but uncertainty still remains for future of Maori programming.  IMAGE: Gabriel Pollard/Wikipedia commons TELEVISION NEW ZEALAND may have outsourced their Maori and Pacific programming but independent companies like Scottie Productions are not asking any questions – they are hitting the ground running. It has taken on Waka Huia, the award-winning documentary series first broadcast in 1987 that documents stories from within the Maori world. Company director of Scottie Productions Megan Douglas, of Te Awara, was shocked and saddened by the TVNZ move when it was announced. “I started my career at TVNZ working as a researcher on Marae when I was in my early 20’s. The department have continued to be like whanau to me,” says Ms Douglas. She says the outsourcing provides an opportunity for a revival to Waka Huia with fresh input from creative minds. She also cites jobs and invaluable experience for all those involved at all levels of production, as well as a degree of security and encouragement to grow her business to support the Maori production community. She says most of the staff who wanted to continue on the programme have done so. “Recording the stories of people who have contributed to our nation and our identity has always been a passion for me. It’s a privilege to be the custodian of such amazing stories,” says Ms Douglas. During research for this story it became increasingly clear the only beneficiaries of the outsourcing might well be producers like Ms Douglas, and if there are others, only time will tell. The outsourcing was loud in the media. Columnist David Slack, writer for Metro Magazine and radio and TV commentator called the outsourcing a “damn shame” on Frontline, and the Pacific Freedom Forum called the outsourcing a “threat to democracy”. Broadcasting spokesperson for Labour MP Kris Faafoi said TVNZ’s washing its hands of Pacific and Maori programming shows the National Government has given a clear mandate. “Make money and forget about serving Kiwi audiences programmes that reflect our own cultures,” he said. Some questioned TVNZ’s commitment to Maori in New Zealand, and others feared for the future of Maori programming and content in New Zealand. The passionate response to the announcement may have been the reason it was difficult to source comment from willing parties, Maori TV included. One communications manager remarked that it was understandable, due to the news in the industry being too raw. Another informed me my chances of speaking to someone were very few because of the negative press. Those who would speak had tangible concerns about the future of Maori programming. People like Whetu Fala, of Nga Rauru, chair of Nga Aho Whakaari, the national representative body for Maori working in film and television in New Zealand. Ms Fala has worked in broadcasting for more than 26 years, directing and editing television, film and documentary, starting out as a TVNZ apprentice. She is not convinced the outsourcing is a good idea. The move is a clear signal that the government has decided to put TVNZ up for sale, something already bought and paid for by New Zealanders, she says. Ms Fala says there is no guarantee that, if TVNZ is sold down the line, the new owners will continue to reflect New Zealand’s culture. There would be no obligation to broadcast any Maori content, or anything about New Zealand at all, she says. Ms Fala recalls when the Coronation Street time slot was moved, and the uproar that resulted. “I doubt that there will be that type of reaction if Maori programming was taken off TVNZ,” she says. Ms Fala acknowledges and congratulates the producers who won the opportunity to take over the iconic shows, but feels uncomfortable with the uncertainty the outsourcing has created. Larry Parr, another industry veteran, says the fundamental issue is that TVNZ is no longer a public broadcaster. “A lot of people still hanker after it being the public broadcaster, but it’s not. It’s been a commercial broadcaster for a long time,” says Mr Parr. Mr Parr, of Ngāti Raukawa and Muaūpoko, is the former head of programming for Maori TV and currently works for Te Māngai Pāho as television funding manager. He has worked in the industry since 1978, and produced films like Sleeping dogs and Magik and Rose. He agreed to speak to Newswire but only from a personal perspective, and stresses that his views do not represent those of Te Māngai Pāho. Mr Parr has built a stile over the outsourcing issue. “I’m agnostic on it. I don’t have a strong view either way,” he says. Mr Parr says the quality of the programmes will improve because there is often more creativity outside than there is inside. “I think you will see those programmes get another facelift and be a bit stronger. All in all, I understand it and I think there will be some positive impacts.” He also spoke about the benefits for the independent production companies. “It’s only one contact each but it means you have that base contract and assuming you do a good job with it, it actually provides you with a bit of breathing space,” he says. “I don’t think you would worry about where the rent is coming from.” Mr Parr says he understands the outsourcing from a business point of view, one that looks as if it is preparing for sale. “I don’t think it’s sensible for us ever to look toward TVNZ as a public broadcaster. That’s gone. If we want a public broadcaster, we should be looking at Maori TV. That would be good for Maori TV in my view,” he says. He says TVNZ has a statutory obligation to screen programmes that have a Maori perspective but there is no number of hours or percentages stated. From a funding perspective, Mr Parr and Ms Douglas both agree: more funding is needed for Maori programming and content. Ms Douglas says Maori programming is at a stage where it is clear programmes need better funding to be able to produce high quality television. “Maori TV has not only created a platform for Maori programming to flourish, but it’s also created competition amongst the independent community,” she says. “With competition comes innovation and a desire for excellence.” Mr Parr says he’s hopeful about funding increases in the future, although admitted they are hard to predict. He mentions Deputy Prime Minister Bill English’s speeches where he makes the effort to speak in Te Reo Maori. If Mr English’s own behaviour indicates that he sees the value in Te Reo Maori, then a sensible budget might be rewarded at some point, says Mr Parr. So, does Maori programming have a bright future in New Zealand? Producers might think so, but only if funding levels continue to rise. If TVNZ is sold, and no requirement for new owners to continue Maori and Pacific programming is put in place, then that could be a fundamental change. Maori TV could stem the tide and take advantage, as they expand digitally and adapt to the changing ways in which people consume media content. But maybe not, as Whetu Fala poignantly ended our conversation: “It cannot be an island that stands by itself.”

      • Students benefit from Rangikura School programme
        • 14 Apr 2015
        • Newswire.co.nz
        • A SPECIAL programme aimed at improving the learning outcomes of Maori and Polynesian students at a Porirua school is proving successful. Tamaiti Mua is a programme created by Rangikura School in Ascot Park. Principal Eddie Uluilelata says the programme focuses on improving the relationships between teachers, students, parents and the community. “We were no better or no worse than any other school, we just thought we could do better than that, and we needed to do better than that to raise our student’s achievement,” he says. Mr. Uluilelata says the programme centres on the idea that the active involvement of parents in their children’s learning will improve overall grades. “It’s the engagement we need now. That’s the key. We need to change that involvement into engagement,” he says. The first stage of the Tamaiti Mua programme revolves around how parents feel about coming into the school, and what prevents them from being involved. “Back at day one, it was just about us needing our parents and our community to help,” Mr Uluilelata says. “We are doing as much as we can and a bit more than expected in some cases, but we need more parents on board,” he says. Since the beginning of the programme, there has been a definite rise in Polynesian achievement, with Maori grades lagging only slightly behind. “All around the country Maori and Pasifika results are not so good, and our Pasifika results haven’t gone through the roof, but they’re up there now with our whole school results, and Maori data has improved but hasn’t improved as much,” he says. Step two opens up the school and makes it as welcoming as possible, “It’s an on-going process.” Mr. Uluilelata has high expectations of his staff. He says not all teachers have accepted the programme. “We’ve had staff realise that they probably don’t fit here.  Our waka is going this way, and we’re all paddling this way, but if you’re paddling some other way – we’re gonna throw you off the boat. No we’re not, we’re going to get you to go somewhere else.”

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