Amazon's smart speaker to launch in NZ

Amazon’s smart speaker system is set to launch in New Zealand next month.

The Echo Dot will cost $89. Source: 1 NEWS

Using the company’s Alexa system, the Echo speaker can answer questions, play music and even turn the lights on and off with voice commands.

You can also ask it to play the latest news bulletin. 1 NEWS, with twice daily updates, will be among the services, known as “skills”, on the device at launch.

The user just says “Alexa, what’s the news?” or “Alexa, read my flash briefing” and the latest bulletin will play.

John Gillespie, TVNZ’s Head of News and Current Affairs, says: “This 1 NEWS skill for Alexa gives New Zealanders an innovative way to access the latest local and international headlines, making it easier than ever to stay up to date with breaking news stories that matter.”

Amazon announced today that the Echo, Echo Plus, and Echo Dot speakers will be coming to New Zealand in early February.

The Echo will cost $179, the Echo Plus, which can integrate with a smart home, will be $269, and the Dot $89.

The company has worked on the software so it recognises Kiwi terms and the system works with music services including Spotify, TuneIn and Amazon Music.

More information about Alexa here (US version)



China Southern flight returns to Auckland, makes emergency landing

A China Southern flight from Auckland to Guangzhou was forced to make an emergency landing back in Auckland last night. 

Just 30 minutes after the flight had left Auckland International Airport, the Boeing 777 turned around and made a "full emergency landing," according to an Auckland Airport spokesperson. 

The media spokesperson confirmed that the China Southern plane went through the standard procedure with fire services.

Flight CZ306 departed from Auckland International Airport at 11pm last night and had been scheduled to arrive in Guangzhou, China at 5.20am this morning. 

A spokesperson from fire services confirmed that the China Southern plane landed safely.

The flight path of the China Southern plane that made an emergency landing in Auckland last night.
The flight path of the China Southern plane that made an emergency landing in Auckland last night. Source: Flight Aware

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Nelson region holidaymakers drenched as heavy rain pummels upper South Island

Golden Bay locals and holidaymakers are being advised to stay alert as the region gets a soaking.

Heavy rain has pummelled the Upper South Island since yesterday afternoon, causing rivers to swiftly rise and surface flooding on roads.

Despite the downpour, fire services have confirmed there were no weather-related calls overnight.

There were two blocked roads earlier this morning, but they have since been cleared.

A flood warning remains in place on SH60 between Takaka and Collingwood, near the Little Onahau River.

One Spec Road in Takaka was impassable before the Anatoki River last night.

Campers at Pohara campground remain undeterred, having already stuck out stormy conditions last week.

Holidaymaker Oscar Evans told 1 NEWS the front of his tent had flooded, but it hadn’t dampened his love for his "favourite place".

He described how a "lakes" worth of water had also built up outside his tent during last week’s downpour.

"We actually got the kayak out and we were actually paddling in it."

MetService has predicted heavy rain to ease in the region by early this morning, but expects a further 60 to 90mm of rain about the ranges west of Motueka and 30 to 50mm elsewhere, on top of what has already fallen.

One holidaymaker in Golden Bay said he was able to kayak outside his tent where rain had built up at Pohara campsite. Source: 1 NEWS