Canterbury engineer hopes to quake-proof buildings with old tyres

A University of Canterbury team is a million dollars closer to its goal of developing quake-proof building foundations from old tyres.

The money from the Endeavour Fund, administered by the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment, will go to researching new foundation systems for low-rise homes and buildings.

The project's science leader said waste tyres were an affordable source of building materials that could be adapted for wider use.

Gabriele Chiaro, a senior engineering lecturer at Canterbury University, said 3.5 million used tyres were sent to landfills or dumped each year in New Zealand.

"This gives rise to stockpiles of tyres that cause enormous environmental issues."

Mr Chiaro and his team planned to use them to create what was described as an "eco-rubber, seismic-isolation foundation system" for buildings throughout the country.

It is a system that filters the energy of an earthquake by combining two critical elements: A rubber-gravel mixture that disperses seismic shock waves and a flexible "raft" foundation made of steel fibre-reinforced rubberised concrete, that does not crack like regular concrete.

The system would not only absorb the shock, but also prevent damage, Mr Chiaro said.

There were similar studies elsewhere in the world, but mainly in countries that did not have the same earthquake risk.

"In New Zealand we are trying to assess the problem of tyre waste management, and by doing so we are also able to minimise the seismic damage for medium-density, low-height residential buildings."

He said the development was aimed for use in housing developments, which was where a gap existed in earthquake strengthening, but the technology could also be used in small-scale commercial developments.

Mr Chiaro said preliminary studies were done in 2015, which revealed the potential for development. A prototype could be ready within two years before laboratory testing was done, and field trials could be expected within five years.

"After than, we anticipate that in 10 years' time this foundation will be used in most of the buildings built in New Zealand."

Mr Chiaro did not think it would be hard convincing regulatory authorities of its merits, provided it was affordable and resilient.

The $1m Endeavour Fund is New Zealand's largest contestable research fund, aimed at ambitious research projects to improve the lives of New Zealanders.

Mr Chiaro expected the project to attract interest.

"There is potential for great collaboration with Japan and the USA, with whom we already have a connection, and also with Europe."

By Tracy Neal

rnz.co.nz

Gabriele Chiaro, a senior engineering lecturer at Canterbury University, said 3.5 million used tyres were sent to landfills or dumped each year in New Zealand.
Gabriele Chiaro, a senior engineering lecturer at Canterbury University, said 3.5 million used tyres were sent to landfills or dumped each year in New Zealand. Source: University of Canterbury



Woman dies after collision between her motor scooter and car in Rotorua

A woman has died following a collision in Rotorua yesterday between the motor scooter she was driving and a car.

The crash occurred at the intersection of Arawa St and Rangiuru St shortly after 8am.

Police say the Serious Crash Unit is investigating the circumstances surrounding the crash. 

Police car Source: 1 NEWS

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Man works his way up from the bottom to become executive chef at top Auckland restaurant

Being an executive chef for one of the best restaurant's in Auckland is a tough gig.

But Wallace Mua climbed his way up from the bottom to become a top chef at the Hilton Hotel's FISH Restaurant.

He started working there as a humble dishwasher and put in the hard yards to attain his dream.

"I was lucky that I got a job at a restaurant, my boss said I got the job because I sat there smiling the whole interview and I didn't have any idea," Mua says.

TVNZ1's Seven Sharp learned more about his journey in the video above.

Wallace Mua cooks at FISH Restaurant at the Hilton Hotel. Source: Seven Sharp

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The Auckland school that's making kindness cool with their kids

The problem of being kind to others may have been solved by a school in Auckland.

Somerville Intermediate in Howick has created an Undercover Kindness Agency for its students.

Deputy Principal Chris Hall came up with the idea that sees random outbreaks of generosity in the playground.

"I thought it was a good idea in my head. I wasn't sure it would resonate with any of the students, I canvassed them and on the first day and had 90 students sign up," Mr Hall says.

Since then even more students have signed up to join the secret club.

Psychologist Jacqui Maguire says being kind is also helpful to the giver.

"There's decades of scientific research which shows that being kind to others has benefits to the giver. that includes lower blood pressure, increased energy and increased life span," Ms Maguire says.

The kids in the Undercover Kindness Agency are hopeful their kind ways will catch on.

Somerville Intermediate has created an Undercover Kindness Agency. Source: Seven Sharp


Victoria University student told she couldn’t return to hostel after she tried to kill herself

Warning: This story discusses details of assault and suicide that may be triggering.

A first-year Victoria University student was evicted from her hostel the day after she tried to commit suicide.

Dani tried to end her life in October 2017 at Cumberland House, in Wellington.

Her father flew down from Tauranga to be with her.

Hours after being discharged from hospital the next day, the hall manager told her she could not stay because of health and safety reasons.

"Me and dad went back to the hall and the hall manager asked to meet with us. She did the whole mandatory 'are you okay' thing, but was then like 'okay, you can't stay here, we don't want you to stay here'".

"I understood it as there were exams going on which were stressful, obviously a lot of gossip, but my dad asked 'whose health and safety are we talking about here?'."

In a statement Victoria University Student and Campus Living Director Rainsforth Dix said the hall environment was not conducive to Dani's recovery.

"The University has to weigh up the rights of individuals against the collective good of the hall community and the potential impact on other students," she said.

"In this case, following an incident, the Head of Hall met with the student and a parent. They were told that after a critical incident, the counselling service recommends a period of respite before returning to the hall.

"They were also advised that in this case, the hall environment was not considered conducive to the student's recovery."

The hall also kept the remaining weeks of her rent which she had paid in advance.

After her father emailed university management, the money was refunded.

"That was only because my dad pushed. They were willing to keep my money that I'd paid up until November 18. They run it as a business."

Accepting a place at Cumberland House in October 2016, she filled out all the paperwork - including disclosing under the medical conditions section - that she had been clinically diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, depression and anxiety.

Dani said the hall staff and Residential Assistants were ill-equipped to deal with the "real and gritty" issues she had faced.

At the start of 2017, a few weeks after she moved in, she was sexually assaulted.

A short time after that she requested a room change due to a falling out with her roommate.

She was moved three doors down from the person who had assaulted her at the start of the year.

Some months passed and Dani started dating another student; shortly after she became pregnant, and miscarried.

"I had to go through this experience on a really gross student hall bathroom floor, it wasn't fun. And I didn't feel that I could go to any of the staff and be like - 'hey this has just happened, what do I do'."

Mental Health Foundation chief executive Shaun Robinson said evicting someone because they have had a mental health crisis was not appropriate.

He said people under 25 were the age group that experienced the highest levels of psychological distress and that the highest rate of suicide in New Zealand was among those aged between 15 and 24.

He said the eviction likely caused significant distress at a time when Dani needed kindness and understanding.

Where to get help:

Need to Talk? Free call or text 1737 any time to speak to a trained counsellor, for any reason.

Lifeline: 0800 543 354 or text HELP to 4357

Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865 / 0508 TAUTOKO (24/7). This is a service for people who may be thinking about suicide, or those who are concerned about family or friends.

Depression Helpline: 0800 111 757 (24/7)

Samaritans: 0800 726 666 (24/7)

Youthline: 0800 376 633 (24/7) or free text 234 (8am-12am), or email talk@youthline.co.nz

What's Up: online chat (7pm-10pm) or 0800 WHATSUP / 0800 9428 787 children's helpline (1pm-10pm weekdays, 3pm-10pm weekends)

Kidsline (ages 5-18): 0800 543 754 (24/7)

Rural Support Trust Helpline: 0800 787 254

Healthline: 0800 611 116

Rainbow Youth: (09) 376 4155

By Emma Hatton

rnz.co.nz

Dani had a tough first-year at University. Source: rnz.co.nz