Tags

Feeds / Newswire.co.nz news feed

  • Tagged as:
  • featured
  • media
  • This feed is provided by a third party.

    To subscribe to this feed, enter the following location into your feed reader.

    This feed currently contains the following newsitems:

    Whakaoko id: $feed.whakaokoId
      • Pannett juggles environment and development
        • 23 Feb 2015
        • Newswire.co.nz
        • IONA PANNETT: City Councillor who cares about the environment. HIGH PROFILE, energetic, outspoken and above all, principled, Wellington City Councillor and mother of two Iona Pannett balances fronting the most challenging development issues facing the city with staying true to her Green values. As chair of the environment committee, Ms Pannett has oversight of the controversial proposal to extend the airport runway and is also dealing with climate change issues. At the same time, she is buildings portfolio leader of the transport and urban development committee, which has oversight of enforcing the earthquake strengthening of at-risk buildings. She is also deputy chair of the district licensing committee, a member of the environmental reference group, the Wellington water committee and others. Her commitment to creating and maintaining a sustainable environment within the framework of a consultative democratic process underpins what she does. Ms Pannett has been involved in progressive politics since her teens, although that was always likely to happen, given the environment she grew up in. Background  A dyed-in-the-wool Wellingtonian, she was born in in Newtown, grew up in the inner city and has always lived here. “My parents are Christian and quite political, so we grew up in the context of a concern for social justice. My parents are now members of the Green Party too, so we’re a Green Party family,” says Ms Pannett. She describes her family as reasonably political and very public service focused, like many in Wellington. Her parents’ faith had an influence, although she is not religious. She became involved in rape crisis as a 19-year-old student and stayed with the organisation for three-and-a-half years. “I abhor violence and violence against women and children in particular, it’s a great injustice for me,” she says. The group was based on participation and consensus, organising principles that have stayed with Ms Pannett. “That is a mode of working which I like,” she says. In 1997, while studying environmental philosophy, she attended an environmental camp for activists, where she heard people talk about a range of environmental issues, including opposition to the (at that stage) proposed inner city bypass. “It just made sense to me, against the background of a concern for social justice,” she says. She ended up working on the anti Wellington city bypass campaign for five years. “That was about looking at ways that cities should work better from an environmental and people point of view. It was very formative because I worked with some great people and learnt a lot,” she says. In 2001 she ran a successful campaign for a single transferable vote in Wellington for the Greens. After that, she became more formally involved with the Greens and ran the Wellington central campaign in 2002. She was elected to Wellington City Council for the first time in 2007 and has been on the council ever since. “For me, it’s a huge privilege,” she says of her current role. “We basically get to run a city and we get to implement our ideas around sustainability and that’s a wonderful position to be in.” “The dialogue in local government has changed far more towards thinking about the environment in terms of transport, waste and water,” she says. Ms Pannett is clear about her alignment with the Green Party, although she is quick to add that the party doesn’t tell her what to do. “I am driven to work for change because I see so much injustice and it bothers me,” she says. Personal choices  It’s all very well to have lofty ideals, but does Ms Pannett walk the talk? Difficult though it is, she makes a real effort to be an ethical consumer and shop with sustainability in mind. “I do adhere to the personal is political,” says Ms Pannett, referring to the 1970’s catchphrase about the broader impact of individual choices. “I do believe you have to live your principles.” And she certainly does, having been vegetarian since 2001, she has no driver’s licence, neither she nor her partner own a car and they live in the central city so need to travel less. She seldom travels by air and limits overseas travel. She also buys many clothes off Trade Me. At the same time, she acknowledges that compromises are necessary especially being the mother of two small children and dogs (she confesses to being an animal lover). For example, she doesn’t grow her own vegetables and prefers buying them from the market, although she buys local where possible. “Anyone who knows me knows that I don’t like gardening or cooking,” she laughs, adding that it’s a choice about where to put time and energy. Instead, she makes her contribution to organic and sustainable farming through being a trustee of the Hill Street Farmers market. “I do try hard, but I don’t beat myself up about everything. I try to do the right thing through my work, whatever that happens to be,” she says. She realises that “doing the right thing” is expensive for many people and not everyone can afford organic food. “There is an affordability issue there,” she says. Dealing with dissent  Taking a stand on environmental issues isn’t always easy, and Ms Pannett has on occasion been vocal about controversial issues, at times ruffling feathers. “Politics is a tough environment. “I have not decided to be popular. “I say the things that I think need to be said around the environment.” For example, she does not support the development of Transmission Gully although she accepts it is a “done deal”. “In terms of the science about what’s happening with global warming, this is not the sort of thing we should be doing, and it’s very expensive,” she says. The airport extension is a similarly controversial issue. Ms Pannett has supported an initiative by the council to prepare an environmental impact statement on the proposed new runway and wants to have a proper understanding about the likely effects on the surrounding area before making a decision. “It’s interesting to explore how we connect Wellington to the world, because we are so isolated geographically,” she says. Another major issue for the council is the number of ordinary people facing unknown expenses because their inner-city apartment blocks have been designated earthquake prone. “Some owners are under huge pressure,” she concedes. “It’s a very difficult problem and we’re well aware of it.” “We have been consistent in saying that the government needs to come to the party. The government wants to regulate, but there hasn’t been enough consideration given to how it will be paid for,” she says. “We’re trying to see how we can support owners.” Where to next?  Where does she see her future? “I’ve done a lot of stuff at the local level. I will probably in the future do some stuff at a national level and an international level,” she says. As to what that stuff might be, she isn’t giving much away. “I’ve got kids to raise, that’s my first priority, and I’m committed here for another two years,” she says. In the meantime, she’s happy with where she’s at. “It’s a good place to be at the moment because I feel like I’m part of an organisation which is trying to achieve a lot. It’s a privilege to be involved in all of that.”

      • Bringing te reo back to life
        • 23 Feb 2015
        • Newswire.co.nz
        • TE REO: (From left) Ewan Pohe, Chloe Lyall and Tama Kirikiri agree that te reo Maori should be taught to children in New Zealand’s schools. IMAGES: Hayley Gastmeier EWAN POHE learnt about the War of the Roses and English history at school but nothing of Māori or New Zealand’s past. He grew up surrounded by Māori culture with grandparents and a father fluent in te reo, but he was raised only to speak English. “The whole education system for the last 150 years has been assimilationist, where the whole emphasis has been on making Māori into Pakeha. “Māori were seen to be primitive, backward, and not progressive,” says the Victoria University researcher and tutor. According to the Māori language commission, at the start of the 1800’s te reo Māori was the dominant language throughout Aotearoa/New Zealand. By the 1850’s, with more and more European settlers arriving, te reo became the minority language and English dominated. The Pakeha population exceeded Māori and te reo was confined to Māori communities. By the mid-1900’s speaking te reo Māori was being strongly discouraged throughout the country. BILINGUAL: The Pohe family, (From Left) Ewan, Ana, 12, Sue and Georgina, 15, all learnt te reo and now are fluent speakers. Dr Pohe, of Rongomaiwahine iwi, says it’s sad in today’s context but at the time they thought they were moving forward. Even Māori were discouraging te reo. “My dad told me it was a waste of time. “The dominant narrative at the time was that it was in the past.” Dr Pohe says the mainstream media keep reinforcing the negative stereotypical aspects of Māori, and racism is still “alive and kicking” in New Zealand. “And then you have these statistics of Māori in jail, failing the education system, and very poor health. “So it wasn’t seen as a positive to be a Māori for most of my life.” It was at age 45, with two young daughters, Georgina and Anahera, and a supportive wife, Sue, that Dr Pohe immersed himself on a journey to be fluent in te reo Māori. “I went to everything I could go to, all sorts of classes. Night classes, immersion, books, TV, radio, audio, friends, family. You name it, I did it.” He says it took him a solid three-year commitment to master the language. Once fluent, he sent his girls to immersion schools and his wife started learning too. Now the whole family has the ability to speak fluent te reo. Dr Pohe has since built a PHD around his 10 years of Māori language research. He teaches te reo to beginners at Victoria University, and he and his wife run a mentoring programme for families wishing to incorporate the language into their homes. “The more I learnt the more I realised it was something I was passionate about. “It resonated well with me culturally, to the point where I thought this is a good thing for not only me and my family but for all Kiwis who are interested.” “I want to try and keep alive the Māori cultural identity, and the only way you can do that, to maintain its integrity, is by maintaining the language as a living one.” At the other end of the education spectrum, pre-school teacher, Chloe Lyall, weaves the Māori culture into her classroom on a daily basis. In her class stories of Māori myths and legends are told, they practice tikanga (customs and traditions passed down through time) and every morning a group of children will present their mihimihi to the class. Te reo Māori is constantly incorporated into the classroom conversations and activities, including to welcome, sing, count, name objects, and ask questions. BICULTURAL FOCUS: Pre-school teacher Chloe Lyall incorporates te reo and Maori customs into her classroom. “It becomes a way of speaking, and a way of being.” It was only a few years ago that Miss Lyall discovered she was a descendant of a Māori ancestor of the Ngāi Tahu iwi in the South Island. But says she does not identify with her tribe because she found out about the connection later in life. “I wasn’t brought up in that environment.” Miss Lyall says it is important for the revitalisation of te reo that children are exposed to the language in a positive light. “If they experience it at a young age then they understand that there is a value placed on it, and that it is of importance.” All New Zealand pre-schools must adhere to bicultural practices, and have resources that reflect the Māori culture within them, but Miss Lyall says there are no strict guidelines. “It depends on how passionate the teacher is, and what their personal values are, in terms of how much is actually incorporated into the children’s daily pre-school life.” Miss Lyall credits her high appreciation of te reo to her teachers training at Te Tari Puna Ora o Aotearoa – a polytech she says is renowned for its bicultural practices. In contrast to Dr Pohe and Miss Lyall, Tama Kirikiri has spoken Te Reo all his life. He traces his whakapapa to a number of iwi including Te Whānau-ā-Apanui, Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Konohi, Ngāti Rakaipaaka and Kāi Tahu. As a child his parents, grandparents and anybody that looked after him would speak to him in Māori. Despite coming from a supportive Māori background, he and his siblings rarely used te reo to communicate outside the home and marae. “The climate of New Zealand at the time wasn’t one that encouraged you to use Māori outside of specific occasions.” Mr Kirikiri, a senior project manager at Ako Aotearoa, says at primary school the only thing positive regarding Māori was if you were singing a Māori song. KORERO MAORI: Tama Kirikiri says if te reo was embraced by all Kiwis then he has no doubt that the health of the language would increase. “Everything else was negative.” Thankfully now there are many people trying, in various ways, to incentivise a change in people’s attitude towards te reo and Māori culture. But Mr Kirikiri says the health of the Māori language is hard to determine. “I think that te reo Māori is, amongst the Māori speaking community I know, very healthy. “But outside of that context it’s difficult to say.” According to Statistics New Zealand, in 2013, 21.3 percent of Maori could hold a conversation about a lot of everyday things in te reo – a 4.8 percent decrease from the 2006 census. Stats NZ says there were 91,809 Māori speakers in 2001 and in 2013 there were 92,391. The Māori population in 2001 was at 329,796, which increased to 396,285 in 2013. So in proportion, those within the Māori population who had the ability to speak te reo in 2001 was at 28.2 percent, and dropped to 23.7 percent in 2013. Speakers in younger age brackets are steadily declining while speakers aged over 65 are on the rise as more fluent speakers move into the older age bracket, causing concerns that the language could die out. For Mr Kirikiri, the answer lies in all Kiwis celebrating the language unique to only our country. Mr Kirikiri, also a Māori language teacher, says he does not mind where his students come from, but acknowledges there is a common vibe that only Māori are entitled to learn the language. “My theory is that one of the only things we were able to control to some degree was our language, everything else was taken. “So what ended up happening was people who were so incensed by what was happening to our people, their response was, ‘no you’re not getting it. You’re not Māori so you’re not having it, this is ours’.” But Mr Kirikiri says he and many other people think that the only way te reo will survive in Aotearoa is by not only Māori speaking Māori. “It has to be that everybody in this country realises this is a language of communication, and we actually embrace it as the language of Aotearoa. “And remove a lot of the traditional stigma that was intentionally created by past governments and western mainstream New Zealand, on Māori things.”

      • Melanesians using local festivals to keep culture alive in NZ
        • 23 Feb 2015
        • Newswire.co.nz
        • SOLOMON ISLANDS: A dancer at the Pasifika Festival. IMAGE: Ashleigh Manning. PAPUA NEW Guinea and the Solomon Islands gave Melanesian cultures a strong presence at this year’s Pasifika Festival in Wellington’s Waitangi Park. About 10 different Pacific cultures were showcased at the annual January festival, through performances, craft stalls and food stalls. Wellington mayor, Celia Wade-Brown says Pasifika Festival is a way to showcase the cultural talent Wellington has to offer. “I love the diversity of the Pacific nations and their positive passion for life,” says Mrs Wade-Brown. The Papua New Guinea and Solomon Island groups love taking the opportunity to both get together, and to display their cultures in public. Papua New Guinea Wellington community chairman, PK Siwi says his group performs in the festival to bring something different. “We hope we provided more awareness of Melanesian communities in Wellington and in New Zealand and the many cultural backgrounds they bring with them,” he says. Mr Siwi says the group performed in the Pasifika Festival, hoping to inform the crowd of the many cultures and traditions in the Pacific Islands. “The different islands have different languages, cultures and traditions that are yet to be discovered and celebrated,” says Mr Siwi. Wellington Solomon Islands Community president, Glo Oxenham says her group performs to be a part of the larger Wellington community. “It’s a chance to showcase our culture, people, art and country,” she says. Ms Oxenham says taking part in such festivals involves lots of dances and singing. “Participating in such festivals always brings out how easy it is for our people to get back into the groove of things,” she says. Tribal mudmen and lullabies were shown through dance and drumming of the two groups. The Papua New Guinea Wellington community performed a dance about the Legend of the Asaro Mudmen from the Eastern Highlands province. The legend is passed on through generations in Papua New Guinean culture. Mr Siwi says the legend is the story of a tribe in the Asaro Valley being chased by an enemy tribe, and while fleeing their village they fell into the mud on the Asaro River bank. The tribe hid in the mud until the enemy tribe left, and then came out of the mud. When the enemy tribe came back to find them, they thought they were spirits and fled. This allowed the tribe to reclaim their village and land, and they celebrated the belief that the spirits had helped them to be victorious Mr Siwi says everything about the group’s performance is authentic, except for the costumes. ”The costumes were made here in New Zealand, but they are not far from looking the same. Other than that, everything is authentic,” he says. SOLOMON ISLANDS: Two dancers perform their groups dance. IMAGE: Ashleigh Manning. Ms Oxenham says one of her group’s performances was around a song performed by a French band called Deep Forest but originally sung by Afunakwa around 1970. “Sweet Lullaby by Deep Forest is originally from the island of Malaita and is in the Baegu language. It’s a lullaby for a child sung by her mother,” she says. Ms Oxenham says the song is the story of a young child crying because his parents are no longer around and his older sibling sings the song to comfort him. Ms Oxenham says the dances are often traditional. Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands are culturally diverse countries and both group’s say they aimed to show this to the Wellington public. Mr Siwi says most of the adults were born in Papua New Guinea, whereas the children that were up on stage were born in New Zealand. “Since most of the adults are from Papua New Guinea, we do have a very strong connection to our culture and history,” he says. Mr Siwi says they are a part time group, with an aim of keeping their traditions and culture alive in New Zealand. “The best part is getting our children who are mostly born in New Zealand involved, so they can learn a thing or two about our culture and history,” he says. Mr Siwi says there is not enough time or space to be able to teach the kids properly. “Our concern is keeping the culture and the traditions alive within future generations. “We want the children to be able to learn the beautiful and unique culture we have and are proud of,” he says. Papua New Guinea has over 800 languages, according to Wikipedia. “Papua New Guinea is a country with a large number of tribes, so we have a lot to showcase yet,” Mr Siwi says. Ms Oxenham says they are a mixed group with around 50 members. “We are families with small children but also young men and women who are enthusiastic about their culture and tradition back in the Solomon Islands,” she says. Ms Oxenham says the group doesn’t face any challenges. Mrs Oxenham says the Solomon Islands has over 80 languages and many cultures. “For those of us in Wellington, we come together as one and we pick from the various provinces or islands for the dances we perform,” she says. Mrs Oxenham says her group performs in festivals other than the Pasifika Festival. “Members of our community form little dance groups for our annual independence celebrations in July, when we come together as a community,” she says. COLD CROWDS: The crowd huddle together for warmth in not so great weather conditions. IMAGE: Ashleigh Manning.

      • ‘Knee-jerk’ prisoner voting law damages society, say advocates
        • 23 Feb 2015
        • Newswire.co.nz
        • RETHINKING JUSTICE: Ced Simpson says New Zealand’s crime policy should not be the result of knee-jerk reactions. IMAGE: Tess Nichol BANNING prisoners from voting is an example of how the criminal justice system is hung up on punishing, rather than rehabilitating. Ex-prisoner Paul Wood, says New Zealand is missing easy chances to help prisoners feel connected to wider society, which could reduce re-offending. “I think it’s sad that we as a society are not taking opportunities to do something positive,” says Mr Wood. “Anything that we within the prisons can be doing which supports the idea of personal and collective responsibility is something which should be encouraged,” he says. Mr Wood spent nearly 11 years in prison after being convicted of murdering his drug dealer in 1995. He pursued a degree in psychology while in prison, completing his PhD in the discipline after his release and now works as a life coach. He says criminal re-offending is more likely when prisoners are released into a society they don’t feel part of. “The more alienated people are from society, the easier it is to maintain the mindsets and the attitudes which facilitate criminal offending.” Mr Wood says people who can mentally distance themselves from their victims are more likely to commit crimes. “One of the ways in which you engage in crime is by dehumanising those that you are committing crimes against.” “By providing people an opportunity to connect with others more broadly in the sense of voting, you reduce the likelihood that they can use those psychological rationalisations that enable them to commit those kinds of crimes,” he says. Voting rights for prisoners was brought to attention at the end of January this year when career criminal Arthur Taylor took a case against John Key to Auckland’s High Court. Mr Taylor argues the Prime Minister shouldn’t have been elected in Helensville, as Auckland Prison inmates were denied their right to vote. The judges have reserved their decision in the case. He says it should not be up to politicians to decide who can or cannot vote for them and that denying prisoners the vote sets a dangerous precedent. Currently New Zealand law dictates that any citizen in prison on Election Day does not have the right to vote. The Electoral (Disqualification of Sentenced Prisoners) Amendment Act was passed in 2010 and has received little push-back from the general public. Paul Wood says people tend to feel indifferent about prisoner rights because of a knee-jerk reaction which favours punishing those who break the law. “I understand that a lot of people operate on an emotive response when it comes to anything to do with crime or criminality.” “At the moment we have a fixation on process, i.e. punishment,” he says. However he says punishment is not an effective motivator when it comes to crime. “We’ve got decades and decades of research to show that punishment does not in any way reduce the likelihood of reoffending, or prevent crimes either.” Rethinking Crime and Punishment director Ced Simpson says a well-informed public could be the key to changing laws relating to prisoners’ rights. “People don’t know much about our criminal justice system, they don’t know much about the shape of our population that’s in detention.” Rethinking Crime and Punishment is an initiative aiming to promote policy which reduces crime and social harm by increasing public discussion about the current state of the criminal justice system. He says Ministry of Justice research has found that people’s attitudes change when they are better informed. “They are not generally as punitive as people might imagine. When they have the facts of a situation they tend to be more forgiving.” “We have a long history of legislation in criminal justice coming about as a result of knee-jerk responses to particular incidents and that’s not the way to build policy.” In June 2014, more than 8500 New Zealanders were locked up and over half of them were Maori, despite Maori making up just 15 per cent of the population overall. Mr Simpson says it is important to consider racial implications when discussing the right of prisoners to vote. “When you see how disproportionately likely Maori and Pacific Islanders are to be in detention then you have to ask yourself, don’t they have a valid perspective?” Mr Simpson says he also has concerns with the way the law operates in reality. “When you consider that some people on community service have the right to vote, for example, and they’ve been responsible for the same offence as people in prison, you have to ask yourself well is that fair, does that make sense,” he says. He says someone on parole for a violent offence would be allowed to vote, while someone in prison on Election Day for a less serious crime would not be. “These inconsistencies become a bit worrying.” Most prisoners are not irredeemably bad people, says Mr Simpson, and the law should reflect that. He says people can get hung up on the idea of needing to restrict the liberties of the most notorious violent offenders, like Clayton Weatherston. “Nearly all the poster people that the public give attention to are not the typical prisoner.” “The typical prisoner unfortunately is someone who was abused as a kid or someone who for a relatively short period of time has been swayed by their peers as early adults to do stupid things, or someone who hasn’t got good defence council.” Like Mr Wood, Mr Simpson says voting is a way to help prisoners connect with and eventually successfully re-integrate into society. “If we want prisoners to reintegrate into society as responsible citizens then part of that is them taking up the duties of citizenship, including voting.” “To take that away seems to argue against that.”  

      • Safety and freedom a capital drawcard for international students
        • 14 Feb 2015
        • Newswire.co.nz
        • CREATING DREAMS: From left, Syerina Syahrin from Malaysia and Wei Dai from China are studying PHD’s at Victoria University’s Karori campus. They both say living in New Zealand has had an impact on their culture. IMAGE: Amanda Carrington SYERINA Syahrin had concerns about living on bread and tuna sandwiches when she moved to Wellington, but the international student had no need to worry. When she discovered the range of restaurants she phoned home to Malaysia and said “Mum, I’m safe here”. Ms Syahrin is studying a PHD in education at Victoria University and hopes to teach English to university students back in Malaysia. She is one of more than 7000 international students at Massey and Victoria University. Universities, Polytechnics, training providers and schools in Wellington are all aiming to have at least 15% of their rolls made up of international students within five years, according to the Wellington International Strategy announced in January. The Wellington institutes are hoping to double the numbers of international students by 2023. Being an international student, Ms Syahrin says she didn’t feel out of place when she moved to Wellington. After living in Auckland and Christchurch and facing racial abuse in both cities, she found Wellington to be “multi-ethnic”. “You know you’re a little bit out of place, you know you’re different and being looked at but not here. I feel like [Wellington] is my second home already,” she says. She was working as a lecturer at a university in Malaysia teaching English but felt she had more to learn about the language. Writing for a Malaysian audience and still keeping the New Zealand language has been a challenge. “Although I teach English in my country and I feel very confident with the language, when it comes to academic writing it’s a different genre altogether,” she says. For the 33-year-old, practicing her religion in Wellington has not been a problem. Ms Syahrin is Muslim and she attends a mosque every Sunday where she can understand her religion and put herself in different social situations. Her father is Malaysian Indian and her mother is Portuguese Malaysian. After her studies, Ms Syahrin will return to Malaysia and head back to her old job with more experience, but she is not finished with travelling. She is an avid traveller who wants to experience living in a different country. One place she wants to visit is Hawaii. Ms Syahrin is one of 3000 international students enrolled at Victoria University, and the numbers are increasing every year. Victoria marketing and recruitment manager Roger Armstrong says the university provides students experiences and opportunities like no other university in the country. For example, students can study law close to where the country’s laws are made and it is closely connected to government agencies. “The University also offers some ‘star’ programmes in areas including Architecture, Design and Engineering which are highly regarded and relevant to the structure of tomorrow’s world,” he says. Victoria is planning to increase the number of international students studying at the university by sending staff to attend recruitment events in India, Malaysia, Vietnam and China in the next year. Victoria receives students on scholarships and programmes from the United States, Saudi Arabia, Germany, Scandinavia and Japan. Massey University has more than 4000 international students. Massey University communications director James Gardiner says the international students consider the reputation, teaching quality, safety and career options before they apply to study. It has both exchange students and articulations, where students complete part of their study in their home country with overseas tertiary institutions. “We have a mixture of exchange students, who usually come for either a semester or a year, and those who do their full qualification with Massey,” he says. Another Victoria international student, Wei Dai, has found a sense of freedom of living in New Zealand where people don’t judge you compared to her home town of China. “If a girl in China is 28 and is still doing her PHD and not getting married or having a family she will be definitely defined as a loser,” Ms Dai says. She is from the far north of China in the city of Changchun, which means “forever spring but unfortunately it’s almost forever winter”. She is studying educational psychology and mental arithmetic. Her research is based on the quick thinking of mental calculations and working memory without using a calculator or pen and paper. Participants will do calculation tests on the computer and Ms Dai collects the data based on people’s mental calculation. It took her a while to find people to take part but she gets to meet a lot of new people. “They come from different faculties and they have different educational backgrounds so that makes my research more eligible to generalise,” she says. She completed part of her masters in Spain and Germany in Europe but found it difficult because no one spoke English. She moved to New Zealand with a scholarship from the Erasmus Programme, a European Union student exchange programme. She finds it easy to get involved in the local culture of New Zealand. “It’s so easy to make friends and you can pursue your own dream.” Ms Dai would like to pursue a career as an educational psychologist and become a lecturer like both of her parents. Her mother teaches architecture and her father teaches mechanical engineering. She plans to teach educational psychology at Victoria University in March.

      • Politics, bureaucracy stop Island Bay cyclists in their new bike track
        • 14 Jan 2015
        • Newswire.co.nz
        • TOWN PATH: The Island Bay cycleway upgrade would ultimately create a complete route to the city. A NEW year was supposed to bring an upgraded cycleway to Island Bay, but politics and red tape have cast doubt over exactly when the project will become reality. A February 3 meeting has been called for by eight Wellington City councillors. They propose that all decision-making on cycleways should be made by full council and a master plan of all related projects reviewed in the long term plan. If approved, the decision is likely to halt construction of the cycleway. Councillor David Lee, who voted in favour of the cycleway, says he thinks the proposals will be successful. “It’s just another delay tactic to undermine the project,” says Mr Lee, who represents the Southern Ward. “We’ve seen this before. It’s almost verbatim to the same motion last year which failed [to stop the cycleway].” Mr Lee believes some of the eight councillors have been swayed by a vocal few. “If you over-consult, you do nothing.” Councillor Paul Eagle, who is the other representative for the Southern Ward, backed the notice of motion being discussed but was not available for comment at the time of publication. The planned cycleway stretches from Shorland Park up The Parade to Wakefield Park, and Wellington City Council ultimately intends to connect existing routes with the city. The proposed cycleways design drew passionate responses, with 729 submissions, 45% of which were opposed to the plan. The final design for the upgraded Island Bay route was given the green light at a crowded December 3 transport and urban development committee meeting. Councillors took over four hours to deliberate the issue. “Transport projects are always divisive but I feel if we don’t agree on this, it will be very hard for us to make a decision on anything else,” committee chairperson Andy Foster said during the meeting. The extension is the first step of a greater transport strategy to make it easier to commute by cycling. “It brings Wellington on par with other international cities with strong urban transport routes such as Melbourne and Amsterdam,” Mayor Celia Wade-Brown said. During the meeting’s public submissions, few people were applauding the council’s proposal. One of the few supporters was Patrick Morgan, chairperson of the Cycle Awareness Network. “It’s a project which is forward thinking. The current cycleway isn’t actually fully joined, which makes it dangerous.” He wants an explanation from councillors who backed the February meeting. “It’s a disappointing attempt to stop this worthy project but I’m sure we’ll overcome this new hurdle,” says Mr Morgan. Other residents who spoke at the December meeting were sceptical of the benefit it would have. “The boundary lines could maybe use a good lick of paint but otherwise I don’t think the changes would increase safety,” said Island Bay resident Francesca Grant. “In fact, narrowing the road could make it worse.” The Parade will be narrowed to make way for a cycleway lane shifted from its current position alongside traffic, to be next to the curb with parking spaces separating it from the rest of the road. “Safety experts recommended widening the gap between the cycleway lane and the road but the current design has a 60 cm buffer, which we feel is enough,” the project’s chief engineer Joe Hewitt, told the December meeting. To date $1.68 million has been spent on the project, which is $400,000 more than the expected budget. Some residents were unhappy with the consultation process, saying the way a feedback form was written forced them to respond in favour of the project. Councillor Foster said the consultation process led the council to improve the way it got community input. “I think we’ve learnt from this experience as we can see in projects like the Island Bay Seawall. To be fair to council officers, they did their best to engage with the community,” Mr Foster said. Councillors were encouraged by a central government initiative to fund half the budget for eligible cycleway projects, with councils paying the rest. “The government is allocating $10 million in funding for urban cycle routes and we have to ask ourselves whether we want to be a part of that,” Ms Wade-Brown said. Councillors Nicola Young and Jo Coughlan were the only committee members to vote against the final design. “We don’t even know if we will get this funding,” Ms Young said. Ms Coughlan objected to the decision not being made by the whole council, also saying the design, built to international codes and being piloted in the Island Bay, may not necessarily translate well in Wellington. Construction was planned to start in February after two independent safety audits.

      • Next stop Samoa for Upper Hutt student traveller
        • 13 Jan 2015
        • Newswire.co.nz
        • THRILL SEEKER: Volunteering has become a passion for Jess Thompson (21) who is moving to Samoa next year to do just that. IMAGE: Amanda Carrington A 21-year-old Upper Hutt student who has travelled to 10 countries already is looking forward to making Samoa her eleventh. Jess Thompson is taking part in the Volunteer Service Abroad (VSA’s) UniVol Programme, working as an events support officer in Samoa and leaves on January 24. She has travelled through school, guiding, holidays and other volunteer work, and the latest is through her development and international relations studies. Jess will be working with the Samoan Association of Sport and National Olympic Committee for 10 months with four other co-workers, which she says is a small group to be working for. She will run and provide advice on sporting events. “The main aim of the programme is being able to teach people how to do things or provide advice on how to do it or go about it,” she says. Two of the sporting events are the Youth Commonwealth Games in Apia and the rugby test between Samoa and the All Blacks. Jess got involved through her Development Studies and International Relations degree with Victoria University. Before applying she did some research into where she might take her degree and the Univol programme popped up. “Doing volunteer opportunities overseas seemed like my cup of tea so I could see how this goes and try something a little bit different outside my comfort zone but still relevant to what I want to do in life,” she says. While studying Jess is also a volunteer Ranger leader with Girl Guiding New Zealand. She has been involved since the age of seven and has been a leader for four years. “I’ve watched a lot of girls grow in confidence and do things they never thought they would actually do,” she says. Jess became a leader on her 20th birthday and she says she returns to her Ranger unit each week and describes it as a great adventure. Her busiest year was in 2011 when she received her Gold Duke of Edinburgh award and her Queens Guide, girl guiding’s highest honour, two months later. She also received the Bronze and Silver awards prior to the Gold. Head ranger leader Rhonda Gray has known Jess for five years since she was a ranger completing her Queens Guide Award. “Jess was in the final throes of finishing her Queens Guide Award and I hardly had to do anything for her as she was already very organised and nearly finished,” she says. She is very reliable in the ranger unit. She relates to the girls and supports them in their activities while being a great mentor, says Mrs Gray. Jess’s love of international travel started at the age of 16 when she attended an International Scout Camp in Belgium in 2009. During her high school years she travelled to New Caledonia on a French class trip. After school Jess moved to London to volunteer at Pax Lodge, a World Association Girl Guides Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) World Home and became a volunteer resident for four months, working as a housekeeper. She has also visited France, Italy, Czech Republic, Netherlands, Switzerland, Australia, The Cook Islands and The United States on holidays. She has worked at the Upper Hutt Cossie Clubs as a bartender, barista and receptionist for a year and a half. Jess’s goal is to be a role model for others and have a job in advocacy through girl guiding on an international level. “I can continue to have a life time of adventures and working with people who I never thought I would be able to get the chance to work with,” she says.

      • Vegan athlete fuelled by nature and vegetables for his marathons
        • 12 Jan 2015
        • Newswire.co.nz
        • FINISH LINE: Martyn Weeds stands proud after finishing the 35km long distance run. IMAGE: Liam Cavanagh A BRITISH born runner says you don’t need meat to be an athlete, and he can prove it. The 32 year-old vegan ran the inaugural National Coastal Challenge Series, a race set along New Zealand’s natural coastline. The former archaeologist is an accomplished runner with half marathons under his belt and a gruelling 100km in 23 hours back home in the UK. Martyn Weeds moved to New Zealand with his wife and son Danila in May this year. The Coastal Challenge was the fundraiser’s first New Zealand race, a demanding 35km long distance race over rocks, sinking sand and boulders along Wellington’s south coast from Oteranga Bay to Lyall Bay. Mr Weeds says he does not race competitively but prefers the opportunity to challenge himself and smash some myths at the same time. He says he wanted to prove to others and himself that taking part in events like this does not necessarily require someone to be a carnivore to compete. “A big part of why I got into running was that I got annoyed with this feeling that you had to eat meat to be strong and to these kinds of things,” says Mr Weeds. “I didn’t think that was true and I set out to prove it,” he says. He also likes the adversity that comes with the territory. The worse the weather, the worse the conditions are, the more adversity there is, the more pleased with yourself you are, says Mr Weeds. “I’m not fast at all, and I don’t particularly try to be. That’s why I like long distances because for me that’s the challenge – how long rather than how fast,” he says. The national series was a result of the popularity of the North Shore Coastal Challenge which has been running for 12 years, says event manager Brenna Roband. She says the series provides an opportunity for people living in New Zealand to get active in another type of environment. Miss Roband says the event is unique because the different options mean everyone can have a go, with races for all ages and fitness levels, walking or running, or scrambling to the finish line. Mr Weeds says New Zealand’s natural environment was a draw card for signing up to the race. “One of the great appeals of New Zealand is the nature, the dramatic landscape and the kiwi connection with that. I think this type of race really taps into that,” he says. And for this running Englishman, the more challenging the nature is, the more appealing. “I think I’ve always been the adventurous type, trying to push yourself and going to places wild and challenging and proving I can do it,” he says. The yoga practitioner and kung fu enthusiast wanted to be able to run and stay fit while raising his young son. “Running’s great because you just strap on your running shoes and head out the door,” he says. The quick foot finished the event under four hours, and was happy with the result and enjoyed the scenery. He said the starting line had to be moved because of the wind but said the middle part was the most difficult. “The wind was blowing straight into my face and my feet were sinking into sand,” Mr Weeds says. “It was a bit like aqua jogging; it’s great for fitness but you aren’t going anywhere,” he says. For more information on the series, you can visit the Coastal Challenge Series website.

      • WATCH: Petone twinkles in twilight Christmas parade
        • 18 Dec 2014
        • Newswire.co.nz
        • THE FIRST twilight Christmas parade to be held in Petone was threatened with rain, but that didn’t put a dampener on the 42 floats and estimated 12,000-15,000 people who attended. One of the organisers of the event, Hellen Swales, co-ordinator of the Jackson Street Programme, called the event “magical”. “The parade engaged the community, who came out regardless of the weather,” Ms Swales says. The Petone Twilight Christmas Parade down Jackson Street on Friday 28th November attracted hundreds of participants from around the Wellington region. All three Petone primary schools took part, together with St. Oran’s College and Sacred Heart College. Community associations representing the Phillipine, Chinese, Tongan and African communities took part. Mickey and Minnie mouse and the cookie monster mingled with stilt walkers, acrobats and clowns, while musical instruments tuned up in the background. Simon Jarvis and his group of performers from Highly Flammable Creative Entertainment were also there to entertain the crowd. Vintage cars and lines of minis took their place in line with an enchanted castle, a truckload of children wrapped as Christmas presents and, of course, Santa. Minnie and Mickey mouse gave a thumbs up as they waved them off down Jackson Street on cue, just before 7pm. The parade is part of a five-year Christmas programme designed to engage with the region to promote Petone as a Christmas destination, Ms Swales says.

      • Is Jesus still the reason for the season
        • 17 Dec 2014
        • Newswire.co.nz
        • “Greed” and “rampant commercialism” are just two of the phrases used to describe Christmas. In a Wellington street poll on December 10, 27 people were asked what Christmas meant to them, and if it had become too commercial. Only two mentioned the birth of Christ, and 81% agreed Christmas has become too commercial. John Hutson (82), retired, of Miramar says the business world has taken it over but to him it is about “the ‘mas’ of Christ.” Stephan Cartwright (30), right, a Wellington parent says to him Christmas means “rampant commercialism.” “They should ban all advertising and that would solve a lot of problems,” he says. Nina Mariette (68), left, of Raumati says Christmas is about “greed and overeating”. “There’s all this buy, buy, buy, it doesn’t seem to have much to do with peace and goodwill,” the artist says. Dan Delion (28), gardner, Wairoa: “It’s disgustingly commercial.” Andrew Trute (51), right, of Melbourne: “It tends to be each year has to be bigger and better.” Kristy McCormick (20), student, Newtown: “It’s about how much money you can spend on Christmas presents to make this person happy, whereas you’d probably just make them happy being there anyways.” Jude Chan (44), of Tawa, says she feels for those who are pressured to buy gifts. “I know it’s business but there must be a lot of pressure on families to buy presents for kids,” the authorised police officer says. Kristara Spence (20), left, of Brooklyn, says it has become more about spending money. “It should be about spending time with your family not spending thousands of dollars,” says the mother and model. Paula Comerford (late 50’s), right, of Oriental Bay would prefer to get away from it all. “If I had the money I’d escape to Bali,” the property advisor says. However, some say that the commercial nature of Christmas depends on how you celebrate. Michael Prankerd (31), dairy farmer, Taranaki: “It is what you make it, so in my case no we don’t do it too commercially” Amy Gillies (41), restaurant owner, Berhampore: “If you get into it that way, but no, it is what it is.” Despite people feeling Christmas has become too commercial 59% say it’s still about spending time with family and friends. Logan Adams (25), student, left, Te Aro: “Getting together with family and seeing people I haven’t seen for a long time.” Becky Prebble (33), right, economist, Roseneath: “Time to get together with my family” Isaac Gutschlag, 20, student, Te Aro: “Family, friends, food.”

      • WATCH: Guide dog Gina set to venture off with new partner
        • 16 Dec 2014
        • Newswire.co.nz
        • IT’S graduation time at the Blind Foundation. Two-year-old golden Labrador Gina has finished training in Auckland and has been matched with her new partner in Wellington. Kim Norton is Gina’s guide dog mobility instructor and has been working with her for two months to maintain her guiding skills before she is finally handed over to her new owner. . The dogs work with puppy walkers for 12 to 14 months to gain skills of socialisation, obedience and go all the places they might go as a working dog. The next stage is intensive training, lasting four to six months, where the dogs learn all the guiding skills. After the dogs are matched with someone they spend three weeks getting to know the route their new owner takes each day. Ms Norton says the training takes the dogs through basic skills of walking in a central pavement position, avoiding obstacles and stopping at curbs. Five breeds of dogs are used by the Blind Foundation – golden and Labrador retrievers, German shepherds, poodles and some purpose-bred first crosses – used to gain the ‘best of both breeds’. “They are very willing for the handler. They want to please so they try really hard to do the right thing,” Ms Norton says. For Gina, being a guide dog doesn’t make her any different from a non-working dog. She still has the spirit and playfulness every dog displays and showed it during the interview. The expected life for a working guide dog is 11 years, although some will retire earlier, Ms Norton says. A retired working dog will then be offered to their handler or will be adopted out to a home. The Blind Foundation is looking for people to help with their Red Puppy Appeal on March 27 and 28, 2015. If you can help call 0800 120 254 or visit the website redpuppy.org.nz.

      • WATCH: Rabbit’s tale of survival in the coffee capital.
        • 16 Dec 2014
        • Newswire.co.nz
        • RED RABBIT Coffee Co in Wellington has proven itself in the coffee capital after a successful first year in business. The business, which is hidden underneath Hannah’s factory on Eva Street, boasts a menu with coffees from all around the world – at the moment they have blends from Burundi, Mexico, Ethiopia, Kenya and Nicaragua. There are usually about six different coffees on offer at any one time, and they also sell a collection of coffee beans. Manager Baptiste Kreyder says their success lies in the location, quality and the service they provide. “Good service is of course essential and that’s what I think makes it a really happy place.” Red Rabbit shares the space with the Leeds Street Bakery, and the two share the café in the middle. “Both the bakery and the roastery are sort of matching businesses, both dedicated to quality and that creates a synergy in the café.” He says the café allows them to showcase the best of the roastery and the bakery. When asked what Red Rabbit’s most popular coffee is, Mr Kreyder says everyone is different and it’s down to personal choice. “There’s people who get the same coffee over and over again, because they enjoy the fact that we are quite consistent in terms of quality, then there are people who really like to explore.” Mr Kreyder has been working with coffee for five years and chose to work at Red Rabbit because he heard good things. “I did my research and this place was one of the few in Wellington that really popped out in terms of quality.” He waited until a spot became available in the new business and joined the team, within months he was managing the joint. Mr Kreyder is pleased to be working for the company and is looking forward to seeing what the next year brings.  

      • Cartoonist finds his voice again in new graphic novel
        • 16 Dec 2014
        • Newswire.co.nz
        • GRAPHIC NOVELIST: David Horrocks talking to crowds CARTOONIST DYLAN Horrocks has found his voice again in a new graphic novel, Sam Zabel And The Magic Pen. Horrocks’ new book is based on his own experience, feeling like he lost his voice while he was working for DC Comics in the US. He says Magic Pen was him trying to find his voice in his own little world. “I was trying to find my own voice and style,” he says. The Auckland based artist started drawing comics when he was young. He says he doesn’t remember a time when he wasn’t drawing comics. “I’ve always seemed to have done it,” he says. Since becoming professional almost 30 years ago, Mr Horrocks has written a few graphic novels, a collection of short comics and more. The main thing Mr Horrocks says he would tell the person he was, when he first began writing comics, is to remember to have fun and to enjoy it. Mr Horrocks says when he draws he feels at peace, he finds it relaxes him. “It’s almost like a form of prayer or meditation for me. It just relaxes me,” he says. About 100 people were at Unity Books in central Wellington last week for a Q&A session and signing with Mr Horrocks. Dylan Sherwood, assistant manager at Unity Books, says the launch attracted people and brought back memories for him. “It definitely improved business. I grew up on his books, so it’s great to see him in person too,” says Mr Sherwood. BIG CROWDS: People queue for the signing. IMAGE: Ashleigh Manning.

      • WATCH: Emotional homecoming for Maori ancestors
        • 16 Dec 2014
        • Newswire.co.nz
        • THE LARGEST repatriation of Maori and Moriori remains have been welcomed home to Te Papa Marae after spending more than a century overseas. The collection of ancestral remains included 35 preserved tattooed heads, two tattooed thigh skins, 24 Moriori and 46 Maori skeletal remains. The collection has been in the American museum of natural history in New York. Tears flowed as the remains were given into the care of Te Papa’s custodians. Representatives from Iwi all over New Zealand spoke of the significance of the occasion. Arapata Hakiwai of the Te Papa repatriation team says it was an emotional time for everyone concerned. “It’s been a long journey for the ancestors but I can’t say enough about how great it to have them home,” he says. The repatriation took over five years of negotiations at a cost of $100,000. The repatriated heads and thigh skins had belonged to Horatio Robley, a British soldier stationed in Tauranga from 1865 to 1866 during the land wars. Like many Europeans he collected as curiosities the human heads Maori preserved as trophies of war or as mementoes of loved ones. Scott Schaefer of New York’s American Museum of Natural History hopes this won’t be the last repatriation of its kind. “We have significant collections that we have returned today, so that we’re very proud of,” Scott says. It is estimated that almost 1000 Maori and Moriori remains are still held in collections in the United States and Europe.

      • Old heritage building rejuvenated with craft beer on city bypass
        • 16 Dec 2014
        • Newswire.co.nz
        • TUATARA TEMPLE OF TASTE: ‘Head Boy’ Richard Shirtcliffe is excited about the new microbrewery opening next month. IMAGE: Kent Blechyhden/Fairfax NZ A CENTURY-OLD building that has been the Boys’ Institute, a woodwork shop, a trading house, a boxing gym, a brothel, and a music studio will now brew craft beer. Kapiti’s Tuatara Brewery is adding a microbrewery at 30 Arthur St, which was strengthened for relocation on Wellington’s inner-city bypass in 2005. Tuatara chief executive Richard Shirtcliffe, who prefers to call himself ‘Head Boy’, says he drove past the building every day for the first few months of the year. “As a passionate Wellingtonian, I’ve always hated the fact that a lot of our history has been demolished over years. FROM BOYS’ INSTITUTE TO BREWERY: The old heritage building on Wellington’s inter-city bypass can’t be missed. IMAGE: Matthew Lau “Here’s an example of great piece of heritage, and I think as a local business we can be a custodian.” He believes Wellington can genuinely lay claim to being the craft beer capital of the southern-hemisphere. “A big part of wanting to do this temple of taste was to really get ourselves back into the fabric of the city.” Craft beer enthusiasts will be able to enjoy a beer in the bar and micro-brewery area downstairs, or simply fill up a flagon to go. Turning the heritage building into a brewery and bar took some work with Wellington City Council. Mr Shirtcliffe says he had very little to do with the council and that the formalities were sorted between the building owner, the architect and the council. “My understanding from the architect is that the council have been very helpful to date.” One notable complexity for the craft beer brewers was putting the tanks in place. “They [Wellington City Council] want the tanks to be strapped down, even though they’re quite small and it will take an enormous earthquake to make them topple.” Architect Martin Pierce says dealing with the city council was just like any other process on a building, and the fact that the building is of old heritage made no difference. Mr Shirtcliffe says the seismic strapping for the tanks is a difficult and costly critical hoop they have to jump through. SLOW UNVEIL: The side of the building where the mural will be painted. IMAGE: Matthew Lau “Whether or not we really need to have them strapped down given they’re such small tanks is a separate debate. We have to get it done for the consent.” Because it is hosting members of the public, the brewery has to have approved building consent, liquor licensing, certificate of use, a certain number of toilets, fire exits, and disabled access. “The level of compliance for a place of public use certainly goes up. The nitty-gritty of things you have to do certainly increases.” Mr Shirtcliffe hopes the microbrewery will be open for business by the end of January next year, depending on final council consent. Wellington City Council spokesperson Richard MacLean it was good to find a new outlet for the historic building. He says after its relocation there was a possibility of it being offered back to its original iwi, but he says he is confident that Tuatara appears to have good building developers in place.

      • Capital’s heritage fund needs strengthening.
        • 16 Dec 2014
        • Newswire.co.nz
        •   FUNDING NEEDED: The issue of increased funding was raised at a Transport and Urban Development committee meeting last week. IMAGE: Tess Nichol   Claims some heritage building owners are being denied the help they are entitled to because Wellington City Council’s Built Heritage Incentive Fund is underfunded. At a Transport and Urban Development committee meeting last week, councillor Iona Pannett raised concerns that some owners were unfairly missing out. She made specific reference to a request for funding of $5,000 for a building in the Newtown heritage area to help with repainting. CITY HERITAGE: This building in the Newtown Heritage Area asked for a small amount of funding but was denied due to seismic prioritising. IMAGE: Google streetview “They asked for a very modest amount of money and it’s an important area,” she says. Senior heritage advisor Trevor Keppel said officers had to decline the request. “There are a number of projects we have had to decline on because of seismic priority,” he said. “As officers we have been directed to fund seismic projects.” It was decided in 2012 the BHIF would focus on remedying earthquake-prone related features as part of the council’s Long Term Plan. However Councillor Pannett said that seismic strengthening isn’t only about putting in beams, but also ongoing maintenance to stop deterioration. “We need to increase the BHIF so maintenance can be funded,” she says. The BHIF has doled out almost $150,000 in the second round of funding for the 2014/15 financial year, approving nine of 16 requests from building owners. Councillor Pannett said she was concerned there would be less than $60,000 left for the third and final round of funding. Mr Keppel assured Councillor Pannett that some of the money allocated in this round would be surplus and returned to the BHIF, meaning there would likely be more available for the third round. Councillor Pannett was careful not to criticise Mr Keppel and his team. “It’s fantastic to see so many owners getting on and being supported,” she says.

      • WATCH: Food for fines offer early present for library users
        • 16 Dec 2014
        • Newswire.co.nz
        • LIBRARY users can get their fees waived for a can of baked beans over the next before Christmas. Wellington City Libraries are offering a reprieve to users who have outstanding fines on their accounts, in a Food for Fines amnesty. Borrowers can simply donate a tin of non-perishable food, like baked beans or fruit, and have three dollars waived from their fines. The amnesty will run December 8 through to the 21st and all food donations will be delivered to local food banks in the community. “Our libraries are at the heart of our communities so it’s only fitting that we work together to benefit our neighbourhoods this Christmas,” says Library Manager John Stears. He says people without fines can also participate in the Food for Fines campaign and all food donations are welcome. Users can take their food donations to any one of the council libraries where they can retrieve their early Christmas presents and help the community at the same time. With around 800,000 dollars collected so far this year, Mr Stears says fines are fair and reasonable. He says fees are charged to encourage people to return items, and ensure a fair borrowing system for all users. For more information visit the Wellington City Library blog.    

      • Sex worker sanctuary is Rosalie’s mission, and she needs help
        • 15 Dec 2014
        • Newswire.co.nz
        • A FORMER SEX worker who has devoted her time to helping prostitutes quit the game, has asked Wellington City Council for funding. A former sex worker dedicating her time to helping prostitutes quit the game has asked Wellington City Council for funding. Rosalie Batchelor managed to leave the prostitution industry, and now helps women feeling trapped in the life to get out. Rosalie spoke to the council’s community, sport and recreation committee in the hope of receiving extra funding for housing for her volunteer organisation, and salary support for a co-ordinator. Her organisation, Rosalie’s Haven, was established this year and provides accommodation, food and clothing for female sex workers who wish to leave the industry. “Rosalie’s Haven was set up to meet the needs of women by providing immediate emotional, social, career and spiritual support,” Rosalie says. “The majority of funds for the organisation are generated from donations,” she says. Rosalie told the council there is a critical need to help the “sheltered homeless” women. This is the term used to describe women who couch surf, are in abusive relationships or exchanging sexual services for shelter. “As of a 2007 report there were 377 sex workers in Wellington,” Rosalie says. “Of these one in five were giving sexual favours in exchange for somewhere to live. Thirty per cent of these workers didn’t know how to go about changing their lives,” she says. The study found 75% of women involved in the sex industry have attempted suicide. Rosalie says these women will not seek help because they are suspicious of outsiders and authorities, fear rejection and change. “Sex Workers often fear admitting they have been harmed. They may have difficulty establishing control over their own lives. They fear that health care and other services will not help because they are in the sex industry,” Rosalie says. Councillor Andy Foster says council and other agencies are doing a good proactive job in addressing the issue of the sheltered homeless. “Council is also an excellent landlord for disadvantaged people. That said there will always be new challenges, new people with problems, and limits to what we can do,” Mr Foster says. He says on face value Rosalie’s Haven is a very valuable service. “When deciding to give salary support to organisations providing important social services Council has to weigh them up in terms of relative priority,” Foster says. Rosalie’s Haven also helps women identify a suitable alternative career path. “We are focussing on facilitating change for long term outcomes,” Rosalie says. Councillor Helene Ritchie says these statistics would be even higher as many of the sex workers are “invisible”. Councillor Ritchie says she was in favour of salary support for Rosalie’s Haven as homeless women are the most vulnerable people in our society. “Women are often more vulnerable as they earn less through their lives,” Ritchie says. Richard Maclean, Wellington City Council media advisor, says it will be March next year before the funding can be considered. “We’ve told the people involved that the next funding round is not until next March. They’ll be able to formally make their case then. “We advised them that we would want to see them make their application in the context of the homelessness programme that the Council is involved in, along with a range of established social service agencies,” Mr Maclean says.

      • Bigger parking fines wanted for illegal use of disability parks
        • 15 Dec 2014
        • Newswire.co.nz
        • STORY CHANGER: Paula Booth. IMAGE: Ashleigh Manning. FOUR NEW mobility parks are to be added by the Wellington City Council by next year, but it won’t fix the issues says the Accessibility Advisory Group. Availability of parks, safety levels and fines were the main concerns raised by group which advises the council on disability issues. Seven locations were suggested for the planned parks – The Terrace, Cuba Street, Brandon Street, Oxford Street, Featherston Street, Willis Street and Courtenay Place. Group member and wheelchair user Paula Booth (right) says Willis Street is top of her list for new locations. However, members agree the current fine of $150 for parking in a mobility park is too lenient and not effective, because many parks are taken when they are needed. “I would like for the fines to be substantially increased, to act as more of a deterrent to parking in them,” Ms Booth says. She says the high demand does not match the number of parks available. “I definitely think Wellington needs more. There are not many in the central city where they are available, and the demand is very high,” Ms Booth says. She says during the three years she has used a wheelchair, the only issues she has faced are with the availability and standard of parks. “The availability of parks is a big issue, as well as ensuring the parks are up to a high standard, so they are the right size and that they have a wheelchair ramp up,” she says. She says the safety of some parks is high but could be improved. She also wants non-permit holders to stop using mobility parks illegally. Ms Booth says where she parks in Victoria Street is not normally a problem for her, because there are two parks outside her workplace. Traffic engineer, Steven Spence says before placing a mobility park the council and his team go through a process. “Every mobility park is put through a legal process, through council committee and through consultation,” says Mr Spence. Traffic engineers are asked to provide the parks and then after checking with the accessibility officer, they place the parks if they are needed. Mobility parks are normally placed where there is demand for them, usually around shopping centres and inside the central city. “There is a small amount in residential areas, with a possible one going up in Owen Street, Newton,” says Mr Spence. Council accessibility adviser, Elizabeth St John-Ives says there are 62 mobility parks in the CBD, and most are used frequently. She says each park must be usable and safe for the users, and most meet the standard.

      • Pints going to the dogs as profits given to SPCA
        • 15 Dec 2014
        • Newswire.co.nz
        • AN odd partnership between the SPCA and a brewery is pouring 300 litres of beer into supporting animals. Wellington’s SPCA has received 100 percent of the profits made off Blackdog Brewery’s latest beer called Going To The Dogs. Blackdog Brewery bar manager Laura Mckay says brewer Dale Cooper and his wife Angela have a lot to do with the SPCA and wanted to do something special to contribute. “Basically they foster kittens for the SPCA and really wanted to take it one step further and donate to them by brewing a beer, and all proceeds from this beer will go on to them.” The blond ale was launched at an event in the Blair St bar and guests were invited to bring their pets along to help celebrate. As a charity the SPCA receives only one percent of its funding from the New Zealand government and the money is allocated only for farm complaints. Chief executive Iain Torrance says the funding is a small drop in the ocean as it costs about $35 million a year to run the 47 SPCAs across the country. “It’s the New Zealand community that funds the entire rest of that funding.” Mr Torrance says the SPCA could not operate without donations they receive from the public, and the gestures of businesses like Blackdog Brewery. “Without them doing that we wouldn’t be here to survive, we couldn’t help the 6000 animals a year that we do, we couldn’t respond to the 5000 complaints that we do, without that community support.”

    Local Feeds

    Recently updated feeds from local organisations.



    $site_information.trackingCode