Charges may be laid over fire which destroyed historic homestead near Queenstown

Central Otago detectives are hoping to know whether there'll be charges laid over the Mt Aurum Homestead fire in Skippers Canyon within a fortnight.

The fire in the early hours of New Year's Day razed the historic homestead built in the gold mining era in the early 1860s.

A police spokesperson has told 1 NEWS police are waiting on the fire investigator's report, which is expected to be completed within the next two weeks.

"That report and witness statement will be considered when it comes to charges," the spokesperson said in an email.

Yesterday a couple believed to have been staying in the building on the night of the fire contacted police, and police said it appears the fire was accidental.

The historic homestead near Queenstown was built during the gold rush around 1863. Source: 1 NEWS

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Bittersweet moment for sons of Christchurch rich-lister as they prepare his incredible car collection for auction

A rare Auburn 1920s speedster is being taken out for one last spin as a final farewell for the sons of a man who lived for his cars.

"That'll be the last time I probably drive her before she goes," Gary McVicar's son said.

Forestry magnate Gary McVicar left behind a fleet of rare cars after he died four years ago, and now his family are putting them up for sale.

The car, which could fetch over $400,000 at auction, is one of 29 classic cars going under the hammer this Saturday.

Another vehicle up on the auction block is a 1927 Stutz limousine – the last of its kind in the world.

"These cars are like an occasion, you know? Go back in time when you get in them and drive them," Rodney McVicar said.

Also up for grabs is the Clenet, a 1970s showpiece which took 55 years to put together.

"When they came out, they were 10 times the price of an average car in America, so they were built of the elite - perhaps the Hollywood people, things like that," Turners auctioneer Ian Curry said.

He hopes McVicar's much-loved cars will hit the road soon after going under the hammer.

"I imagine this car will end up back on the road very, very, very quickly with the top down," he said.

"We'd rather see them go out to other people that are going to use them rather than just sitting here, because old cars like this need to be driven," Rodney said.

Gary McVicar died four years ago, and now his family are putting his incredibly rare fleet up for sale. Source: 1 NEWS

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The West Auckland home that's a 1980s masterpiece - 'You get a buzz out of it, a bit of excitement'

It's stood staunchly on this ridge of Auckland's Waitakere Ranges for almost 40 years, and now Seven Sharp's had a sneak peek at the 1980s masterpiece surrounded by nature.

Homeowner John Hatchman says, "When you look at the house, it just grabs you. The cantilevered decks, the lovely cedar, the big windows - it just blows you away when you first see it".

"It's just unique. I've never seen a place quite like it."

Designed by architect Chris Meikle, its post-modern focus was on place-making and despite the era, Mr Hatchman says it never gets old.

"The place has retained a lot of the 80s flavour. It's very original. If you took that away, it would destroy the whole thought and concept behind it. It wouldn't be the house that it is."

For both the architect and the owner, the standout feature is something not part of it at all.

"Living up here, you're in touch with nature. All the surroundings are glass, you can see the city, the trees.

"You get a buzz out of it, a bit of excitement. You think, 'What's at the end of the driveway?' And then boof, there it is - it's brilliant."

While he's loved his 80s hideaway and being close to nature, Mr Hatchman is now putting his home on the market so he can move to Europe.

"It's brilliant – a brilliant place."

The Chris Meikle-designed home in the Waitakere Ranges has a post-modern focus and is delightfully date-stamped. Source: Seven Sharp

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Family history much more likely than diet to cause gout - research

Gout is much more likely to be brought on by genetics than a poor diet which has long been thought of as the primary cause of the joint disease, new research suggests.

Gout can can cause extreme pain and swelling but scientists at Keele University in Staffordshire, UK, say people with the condition can be reluctant to get treatment because of the social stigma associated with having a poor diet.

The study, which was carried out here in New Zealand by a research team at the University of Otago, counters "these harmful but well-established views and practices, and provides an opportunity to address these serious barriers to reducing the burden of this common and easily treatable condition".

The Press Association reports researchers used data from more than 16,000 American men and women of European ancestry to reach its conclusions.

Gout is caused by high levels of uric acid in the blood, which can form crystals that collect around joints.

Consuming beer, wine, spirits, potatoes and meat can raise the risk of getting gout while cheese, eggs, peanuts and brown bread can lower it.

However, each of these foods or drinks is responsible for less than a one per cent variation in levels of the acid, the study found.

And a comparison of healthy and unhealthy diets showed there was only a 0.3 per cent variation in levels of the acid.

But almost a quarter of the variation could be explained by genetic factors.

Gout is most common in men 40 or older.

Long-held theories gout only affected old men with poor diets could be quashed. Source: 1 NEWS


Pregnancy warning labels on alcohol to be mandatory in New Zealand

Pregnancy warning labels on alcohol will become mandatory in New Zealand under a decision made at the Australia New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation in Adelaide.

Minister for Food Safety Damien O’Connor says mandatory labelling will strengthen the Government’s work to change drinking behaviour among pregnant women.

“Hundreds of babies a year are born with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder because of exposure to alcohol in the womb. We need to take every action to reduce this harm,” Mr O’Connor said.

While the alcohol industry has been voluntarily including warnings on some products for the past six years there is no consistency in the type, colour, size and design, reducing the effectiveness of the message, he said.

There has been strong and sound support from a range of groups calling for mandatory labelling, the Minister said.

The move brings New Zealand in line with other countries that legally require pregnancy warning labels on alcohol such as the US and France.

Food Standards Australia New Zealand, the bi-national food standards setting agency, will now develop an appropriate standard to bring back to the ministerial forum for approval.

Pregnant woman drinking