Ban 1080 activist denies killing native birds scattered across Parliament's steps by children - 'an act of theatre'

A Ban 1080 activist has denied killing any of the native birds that were scattered across Parliament's steps by children in a protest over the use of the pesticide.

Parliament's Speaker Trevor Mallard yesterday revealed five native birds were among those placed on the precinct - including two kererū which appear to have been bludgeoned to death.

He's laid a complaint with the police and the Department of Conservation (DOC). It is illegal to kill or possess native wildlife.

Department of Conservation staff say in the past month they've had their car tyres slashed and wheel nuts loosened. Source: 1 NEWS

One of the protest's leaders Alan Gurden told RNZ none of the creatures had been harmed by the protesters.

"They were dead creatures.... we're not the sort of people to go round killing birds to make a point."

The quail and weka were roadkill, but the other birds and mice had been collected from a 1080 drop-zone, he said.

"These animals were all killed from various methods but it certainly was not at the hand of us.... It was an act of theatre designed to show New Zealand what we put up with on the frontline."

He said the carcasses had been given to one of his friends to store after they were collected from drop-zones or from the roadside.

"I'm not going to divulge my source, but someone else brought those to the scene. They were laid on the steps by the children," Mr Gurden said.

"So technically I have never owned, or had in my possession, any native birds."

Mr Gurden refused to name his friend who stored the birds, but said there was "no way" he would have killed them.

"I've known him for quite a while. He's on the same cause as me and he has the same kaupapa as me," he said.

"There's no way he'd go out and kill birds to prove a point."

Mr Gurden said he had not been contacted by the police or DOC. In a statement, police said inquiries were ongoing.

Anti-1080 activists wielding placards and loudspeakers marched to Parliament over the weekend demanding an end to the use of the poison.

A vast array of conservation and farming organisations support the use of 1080, describing it is an effective pest control tool.

They include DOC, the Environmental Protection Agency, the independent Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, and lobby groups like Federated Farmers and Forest and Bird.

- By Craig McCulloch

rnz.co.nz

Marama Davidson said New Zealand needs "community-led conversations" about the use of 1080. Source: 1 NEWS



San Francisco to remove statue deemed racist and demeaning to indigenous groups

A San Francisco board has voted unanimously to remove a 19th century statue that activists say is racist and demeaning to indigenous people.

The unanimous decision yesterday by the San Francisco Board of Appeals involves the "Early Days" statue, which depicts a Native American at the feet of a Spanish cowboy and a Catholic missionary. It is part of a group of statues near City Hall that depict the founding of California.

San Francisco's Arts Commission spokeswoman Kate Patterson said the statue will be removed as soon as possible but wouldn't give an exact date, citing security concerns.

Native American activists have tried to have the statue removed for decades. They renewed efforts last year after clashes broke out over Confederate monuments.

"This has been a tough 30-plus years. But this is wonderful," Dee Dee Ybarra, an Ohlone tribal leader who urged the commissioners to remove the statue, told the San Francisco Chronicle.

After it is removed from public viewing, the statue will be restored and put in storage until officials decide what to do with it, Patterson said.

Several entities, including a museum in California, have expressed interest in housing it, she added.

In April, the board unanimously voted to overturn a decision by the city's Arts Commission to remove the sculpture. At the time, appeals board member Rick Swig called the statue "horrible" but said removing it from public view would squash free speech.

The quasi-judicial, five-member body agreed in June to reconsider its decision.

Earlier this year, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted to end the Columbus Day holiday and celebrate indigenous people and Italian Americans on the second Monday of October.

Board members said Native people suffered greatly after explorer Christopher Columbus arrived.

A 19th century statue depicting a Native American at the feet of a Spanish cowboy and Catholic missionary in San Francisco will be removed following a unanimous decision by a San Francisco board. Source: Associated Press


Terminally ill patients at Timaru hospice unable to sleep because of local racers

A terminally ill man in care in Timaru has taken aim at the racing motorists he says are disturbing the peace for those at the hospice.

Charles Roebuck went into Hospice South Canterbury for palliative care after throat cancer left him unable to eat and drink, the Timaru Herald reports.

He told the newspaper the noise from racing motorists meant he was unable to sleep as well.

"The hospice patients are constantly being disturbed, mainly at night, but during the day as well, with motor vehicles racing past the facility, high speeds, high-noise burnouts up and down the hill, and using this stretch of road as a race track," he said.

Mr Roebuck has sent a letter to Timaru Mayor and local area police commander Dave Gaskin calling for action and suggesting a 10km/h or 20km/h speed limit for the area.

Hospice South Canterbury general manager Peter O'Neill was aware of Mr Roebuck’s complaint and said a similar issue had been raised in the past.

Inspector Gaskin said there hadn’t been an increase in complaints about racers near the hospice.

"I understand the issues raised by Mr Roebuck and we will continue our high-profile patrolling of this and all other areas of risk in the district,” he said.

South Canterbury Hospice. Source: South Canterbury Hospice

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Hundreds of government staff stop work for waiata to mark Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori

Hundreds of government staff stopped work yesterday, not for a strike but a song.

For a few minutes, everyone at the Ministry for Business Innovation and Employment's Wellington HQ was singing from the same song sheet.

It was a high point of the Ministry's Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori events, which included online teaching modules and helping people learn their mihi.

Staff lined the balconies to sing the waiata Tūtira Mai Ngā Iwi - a song about coming together.

Hinemaua Rikirangi from the Ministry's Māori economic development team said, "the key thing is actually about encouraging people to make the effort".

"Those are some of the key steps that we hope to nurture and grow," she said.

“Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori was about celebrating the reo's taonga, or treasure, which is unique to Aotearoa.”

The enthusiasm rubbed off on some staff.

Deirdre Millar who came to Aotearoa from Ireland 12 years ago said, "it made me proud to see people embracing the indigenous language".

"Too many things get lost when a language is lost: your identity, your culture, everything," she said.

The ministry's longer term goal is to build awareness of the Māori culture and language to ensure the minority isn't forgotten in policy.

Raniera Albert, who led the waiata, said he hoped that in 10 years' time "Māori are at the forefront of policy decisions".

"Where we are not the afterthought of the afterthought, where New Zealand's policies work for, but for Pasifika as well."

Everyone at the Ministry for Business Innovation and Employment's Wellington HQ was singing from the same song sheet as part of the ministry's Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori events. Source: 1 NEWS


From remand home to rap – young Dunedin men using rap to turn their lives around

Two young Dunedin men are using rap music to turn their lives around.

Cleveland and Hoepo had a troubled start to life and recently spent time in a remand home.

However, with the help of social worker Nan, the pair changed their mindset and are determined to rap themselves to a better future.

Seven Sharp has their inspiring story in the video above.

After a troubled start to life, Cleveland and Hoepo have changed their mindset around and are determined to rap themselves to a better future. Source: Seven Sharp