CCTV footage captures terrifying moment group of youths attempt to rob Huntly liquor store

The owner of a liquor store in Huntly is blaming "synthetics (drugs) 100 per cent" for the actions of a violent group of youths that attempted to rob his store before stealing his cousin's vehicle and fleeing the scene.

CCTV footage captured the moment a gang of seven youths rushed toward the owner, his visiting cousin and two staff members on Friday night as they were closing the store in the Waikato town.

The video shows the youths running into shot and facing off with the liquor store owner and the others before the innocent parties back off and retreat to the safety of a vehicle.

"They timed it to perfection but failed because I decided to close the store five minutes earlier."

"I got the worst scare of my life," the owner who wishes to remain anonymous told the NZ Herald.

"No one got hurt luckily but they stole my cousin's car and damaged my ute by kicking it in badly."

The store owner went on to tell the NZ Herald he was "100 per cent" sure that synthetics were to blame for the attempted robbery.

Police are investigating the incident.

Nelson teacher inspiring young women to achieve in science wins $100k award for school

A Nelson teacher is being recognised for her winning formula in the classroom, which has seen an increasing number of young women succeed in science.

Today Sarah Johns received the 2017 Prime Minister's Science Teacher Prize, winning $100,000 dollars for Nelson College for Girls and $50,000 for herself.

"I try to make it inclusive that science is everywhere and everything," Mrs Johns told 1 NEWS.

"And it's not pure, like science relies on creativity, and it relies on innovation and it relies on risk taking and that's something kids generally aren't afraid of."

In the nine years Mrs Johns has been teaching at the school, more students have become involved in science. Around 70 now take part in the region's Science and Technology Fair Awards.

Sarah Johns.
Sarah Johns. Source: 1 NEWS

"When I'm in here and I talk to my girls, I'm not trying to talk you into being a scientist or to study science. I am preparing you, coaching you, for the world that you're gonna step into".

Her teaching style is proving popular with students.

"She doesn't just talk about hypothetical stuff, she talks about real stuff,"  Year 11 student Sophie Craw told 1 NEWS.

"Like with chemistry she might talk about, like detergent or soap or something that we would know about".

Mrs Johns has embarked on her own learning experiences outside the classroom, working in Antarctica, Nepal and Samoa.

Nelson College for Girls Principal Cathy Ewing says Mrs Johns has brought back "practical applications" from those experiences, showing students what science can do for them in terms of future careers.

"And really emphasising the role that women can play in terms of what they might be able to go on and do," Mrs Ewing said.

Sarah Johns received the Prime Minister’s Science Teachers Prize. Source: 1 NEWS


Government gives $750k initial aid package to cyclone-ravaged Tonga to 'meet its immediate needs'

An RNZAF Hercules is flying to Tonga this afternoon carrying emergency relief supplies to Tonga.

Possibly the strongest storm ever recorded in the Pacific Island kingdom, Cyclone Gita passed Tonga overnight causing widespread destruction, flooding and power outages.

Foreign Minister Winston Peters has told Parliament the plane is being deployed after a verbal request from the Tongan government to help the 5700 people seeking shelter in evacuation centres. He says it's expected these numbers will increase substantially tonight.

The Hercules is carrying family hygiene kits, shelter kits, jerry cans, and tarpaulins.

The plane is also carrying a New Zealand Government team to support the New Zealand High Commission to assess emergency needs and respond to requests from the Government of Tonga.

Mr Peters says the full extent of damage caused by Cyclone Gita is still being assessed but there is an immediate need for assistance on the ground.

The Prime Minister said she just spoke to Winston Peters and Cyclone Gita relief funds for Tonga are "all signed off". Source: 1 NEWS

Initial assessments indicate there has been extensive damage to homes in Nuku’alofa and some damage to commercial buildings, he says.

Mr Peters told the House he has also approved an initial package of $750,000 to support relief efforts in Tonga.

"I'll help the government of Tonga to meet immediate needs such as emergency shelter, water and sanitation," he said.

At this stage Fuaʻamotu International Airport runway in Tongatapu is open to emergency supply aircraft only. 

Mr Peters says a visual inspection of the international airport has shown the runway to be intact with minimal damage.

New Zealand is coordinating the international relief response alongside other countries including Australia.

With respect to Samoa, Mr Peters said the Government has already approived $50,000 emergency funds for the New Zealand High Commisison in Apia to use to support Samoan efforts.

"And as we get a clearer picture of demand we'll be ready to answer and respond," he said.

"As the situation on the ground becomes clearer we'll support governments with longer term recovery and reconstruction."

Mr Peters said that following previous events New Zealand has for example helped get the power network up and running, repaired schools and other government infrastructure and ensured clean water is available.

The Foreign Minister says a Hercules is flying to Tonga and relief money has been approved for the two island nations. Source: 1 NEWS