1 NEWS Community: The Wellington lawyer who quit her job to give former refugees a place in the workforce

In celebration of World Refugee Day, today ethical underwear label Nisa, which employs women with refugee backgrounds, is opening its first pop-up store.

Since launching in February, Nisa has been operating as an online store, selling underwear made by refugees who have re-settled in Wellington.

Elisha Watson quit her job last year to launch Nisa, an ethical underwear company providing employment opportunities for former refugees. Source: 1 NEWS

The pop-up store at Duke's Arcade in the Wellington CBD, is an opportunity for founder Elisha Watson and her team to meet the community who have been supporting them.

In September last year, she quit her job as a lawyer for Bell Gully.

"I was volunteering (for the Red Cross) at the time, working to help resettle refugees who had just arrived in Wellington," Ms Watson told 1 NEWS.

"I was spending a lot of time with these families and what I really noticed was that they were desperate to find work, but there were so few opportunities for them."

So she set about launching Nisa, an underwear brand, that provides employment for refugees to help improve their language skills, along with their self-esteem and independence.

"I wanted to make something that could use their skills and talents and provide them with their first job in New Zealand."

Initial funding from the Wellington City Council helped with the cost of setting up a Wellington workshop, then Ms Watson launched a crowdfunding campaign, aiming to raise $10,000 to purchase two more industrial sewing machines.

"We got emails from people all over New Zealand and the world, just so excited about what we were going to do, and that made me think, you know, 'it's possible', and that there is enough support to make it viable."

The campaign was successful with more than $20,000 pledged, with Ms Watson putting extra funds towards developing the underwear range and training her employees.

At the end of February, Nisa officially launched online, where people could purchase underwear made from organic cotton and locally woven elastic, as well as matching bralettes.

There are currently four employees, but Ms Watson has big dreams, hoping to one day employ 20 people from refugee backgrounds.  

But just over a month after launching, Nisa grabbed an opportunity to help more refugees, partnering up with The Unmentionables, a US based charity providing hygiene products to people fleeing conflict.

"Their most requested item from people living in refugee camps overseas is underwear, because of course when you're fleeing conflict you're not thinking about your five pairs of underwear."

For every $15 donated by customers through the Nisa website, they will provide a pair of underwear to a woman fleeing conflict.

"This has a really beautiful circularity to it, sending it back to those same people, it's really exciting," said Ms Watson as she was getting ready to ship her first box of donated underwear to The Unmentionables.

The Nisa pop-up store, celebrating World Refugee Day, will run from 20-24 June at Duke's Arcade on the Corner of Willis and Manners.



'My god she can run' - woman at centre of hilarious Kawakawa dog escape video says Lily is enjoying her 15 minutes of fame

A Bay of Islands woman told TVNZ1's Seven Sharp she is "never going to live this down" after footage of her rescue dog Lily dragging a bakery's flag down the main street of Kawakawa went viral around the globe.

CCTV footage of the freedom-seeking furball's runner — accompanied by Yakety Sax, the song made famous by the Benny Hill Show — has been viewed more than 500,000 times since it was posted to Facebook last night.

Lucie Green, a volunteer with Bay of Islands Animal Rescue, was taking the basset hound for a walk last week when she decided to stop at a local business to buy Lily a treat.

But the Basset Hound received a fright and bolted despite being tied to a large Coca-Cola flag forcing Lucie to give chase.

"For an animal with just little legs, my god she can run," Lucie told Seven Sharp.

Lily, Lucie and the rogue flag brought Kawakawa's State Highway 1 strip to a standstill, the whole escapade captured on CCTV.

"My partner owns a local CCTV company I got to the office and I told him what had happened.

"He didn't tell me he'd done it, but he edited footage and put the music on and uploaded it to Facebook and tagged me in it.

"I knew it was trouble when basically by the time we'd gone to bed last night it had hit 100,000 views," Lucie said.

Thousands of people have since commented on the video, with many of them admiring the dog’s spirit.

"I'm laughing my guts out it's so funny," wrote Facebook user Annie Hicks.

Lucie does see the funny side of events however.

"They say every dog has their day, so I guess Lily is enjoying her 15 mins of fame." 

Lily made a run for it when owner Lucie Green stopped at a shop in the Northland town. Source: Seven Sharp

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Tracking down New Plymouth youth MP candidates after Andrew Little's 'hip' appeal

Labour MP Andrew Little released a tongue in cheek video encouraging young people from New Plymouth to get involved in politics today.

The video inspired TVNZ1's Seven Sharp to travel to Mr Little's old school to find the perfect candidate for its new youth MP.

Judge for yourself if New Plymouth Boys' High students Thomas Foy and Jarrod Wilson have what it takes in the video above.

Tamati Rimene-Sproat is on the case after the Labour MP's piece of political theatre. Source: Seven Sharp

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Watch: Take a tour inside Kate Sheppard’s former house where suffragists worked to get women the right to vote

Suffragist Kate Sheppard's old house in Christchurch goes up for auction next month - so Seven Sharp host Hilary Barry took a tour.

Ms Sheppard was instrumental in gaining New Zealand women the right to vote in 1893. She carried out important work for the suffrage movement in the house during the late 19th Century.

Today saw celebrations around the country marking 125 years since women gained the right to vote in New Zealand.

Jacinda Ardern has indicated the Government is interested in buying the house for the nation. It's expected to fetch in excess of $3 million when it goes under the hammer on October 17.

Hilary Barry met with the home's current owner Julia Burbury who showed her around the dwelling set on one acre of gardens.

The house has a category one heritage listing.

The piece of New Zealand history in Christchurch, worth more than $3 million, is up for auction. Source: Seven Sharp


Mum distraught as son turned away from Hutt Valley High School because he didn't have permanent address

Being homeless has become an obstacle for one mother wanting to give her child an education.

Helen Taitapanui and her son were turned away from Hutt Valley High School last week because they don't have a permanent residential address.

Ms Taitapanui, is currently battling cancer and lives in a motel with her teenage son while they wait for a permanent home.

"We've got to be glad that we've got that when we know that a lot of our families are out there living in cars," Ms Taitapanui told 1 NEWS.

However, this was a problem when she tried to enrol her son at a local school.

"The response was it's against their policy to register children living out of a motel. you had to have a residential address," Ms Taitapanui said.

She complained to the Ministry of Education and shortly after Hutt Valley High School reversed its decision.

Ms Taitapanui says her son's excited about going back to school.

"I know once he steps back into the realm of education he'll be well and truly away."

She hopes by speaking out, another unnecessary obstacle will be removed for the homeless.

Being homeless threw up an unexpected obstacle for a mum wanting to educate her child. Source: 1 NEWS