Christchurch Adventure Park stays shut as major fire damage assessed, repairs done

Christchurch's multi-million dollar Adventure Park could remain closed for some time yet, after the Port Hills fires caused serious damage to vegetation and some machinery in the area.

The 358-hectare Christchurch Adventure Park opened in the Port Hills in December last year and holds the first chairlift internationally to be designed for mountain bikes.

The park also contains mountain biking tracks, ziplines and a village with a café and hireage service.

Christchurch Recovery Manager Murray Sinclair said heavy machinery work is likely to take place during the park's repair and tree felling is a possibility.

The chairlift runs 1.8km from Worsleys Valley up through the Cashmere Forest to the top of the Port Hills. Source: 1 NEWS

"We are asking people to stay away from these tracks while the owners assess the repairs they need to do and get on with that work. This could go on for some time," he said.

Mr Sinclair said the public can use tracks to the east of Dyers Pass Rd, including Bowenvale Valley.

Last Thursday, park management wrote in a Facebook post that it was "great" to be able to get laptops and office files from the site earlier in the week under restricted access from the Fire Service.

Park spokesperson Anne Newman said the park remains in the control of fire authorities and its reopening date is unknown.

Once management are able to access the park, a full assessment of damage will be carried out which will give staff an understanding of how long the park is likely to be closed for, she said.

On its Facebook page, park management asked customers to "bear with" them during this time.

Christchurch City Council announced today that Dyers Pass Rd has reopened after being unsafe for access due to the risk posed from fires in the area.

A speed restriction and no-stopping rule still applies while driving on the road.

"We know what a crucial lifeline Dyers Pass Road is and how much people have been wanting to regain access to the much-loved tracks and park spaces," Mr Sinclair said. 

Summit Rd east of Sign of the Kiwi has also reopened while firefighting continues in the west side of the road.

Halswell Quarry Park, where a Fire Service command centre was set up after the Port Hills fires broke out last month, is now open to the public but there remains no access from Kennedy's Bush track onwards.

Tracks that remain closed include:

Christchurch Adventure Park Developer Jay Fry says the potential for the park is unbelievable. Source: 1 NEWS

•         Top of Harry Ell Track
•         Thompsons Track
•         Old Dyers Pass Road Track
•         All of Christchurch Adventure Park
•         Flying Nun
•         Marleys Hill tracks
•         Kennedy's Track (from Halswell To Summit Road)
•         Crater Rim between Kennedys Track and Cass Peak
•         Ohinetahi track network (Summit Road Society)
•         Worsley Road Track

The main road over the summit will open on Saturday, after being cleared of trees that were damaged in the Port Hills fire. Source: 1 NEWS


Greens call to legalise safe drug testing before summer festival season begins

The Green Party wants to see safe drug testing legalised before the summer festival season begins.

Testing has already been taking place at some events, but the practice exists in a legal grey area.

"So no one here is saying that drugs are cool or fun, but we're saying that after decades of trying to say, 'Don't use them,' the reality is that they are being used and they do exist," Green Party MP Chloe Swarbrick said. 

"Mums and dads, when they're sending their kids off to festivals, obviously, we'd hope that their kids aren't using these substances, but if they are going to use them, surely, you want to ensure that they're doing so in a safe way where harm is minimised."

Ms Swarbrick is confident that law changes can be made in time for summer, as Health Minister David Clark has already requested advice on what legislative change would look like.

Green MP Chloe Swarbrick wants to see safe drug testing legalised before the summer festival season begins. Source: 1 NEWS


Government has room for improvement to curb mental health crisis, Mental Health Foundation says

It's a good start, but there's more work to do to curb the mental health crisis, the Mental Health Foundation says.

Described as a nationwide "epidemic", the issue took centre stage during last year's election and was a major drawcard for Labour.

Prime Minister and Labour leader Jacinda Ardern said at the time, "If you're going to talk about hope, then my view is we need to do something about mental health in this country".

One year on, Ms Ardern says the Government has "moved as quickly as we can" to improve mental health.

Part of the changes include dedicated mental health support in Kaikoura and Canterbury primary and intermediate schools; a $10 million cash injection to pilot free counselling services for under 25s and extended school-based health services to decile four schools.

Mental health campaigner Mike King said the Government "deserves more praise than we are giving them".

However, some say there is still room for improvement, including on the topic of suicide prevention.

Mental Health Foundation CEO Shaun Robinson said, "Now that's definitely been kicked for touch until the inquiry comes back. It does make sense in some respects, but there are probably some things that they could have done".

An overstretched workforce is also proving problematic.

"You know, it's all very well to say, 'We want services' or 'we want to put mental health workers into schools', but are those workers there?" Mr Robinson said.

The Prime Minister recognised the "workforce issue", and said the Government has "tried to scale it up as quickly as we could".

Green MP Chloe Swarbrick has spent the past week talking to university students, where education has also been a recurring concern.

"When somebody falls over and breaks their leg, you know that you call an ambulance, but when somebody's having a mental health breakdown, we currently don't have a go-to resource," Ms Swarbrick said.

The independent inquiry into mental health and addiction - due to report back next month - will form the backbone of the Government's response to the issue. Those on the frontline are keen to see what's implemented - and how quickly.

"This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to build a new ship," Mr King said.

"What I fear is going to happen is we're going to continue to throw patches on the old boat."

The Mental Health Foundation says there’s room for improvement in the government’s work on mental health. Source: 1 NEWS


Good Sorts: Meet the Good Sort who failed to finish cross country...twice

This week's Good Sort is Phoenix Horo from Rahotu School, a 45 minute drive from New Plymouth.

Phoenix was nominated by his teachers for failing to finish his school cross country not once, but twice.

Hadyn Jones explains all in the video above. 

Phoenix Horo from Rahotu School was nominated by his teachers. Source: 1 NEWS

Dame Valerie Adams announces second baby, plan for career finale at 2020 Tokyo Olympics

Dame Valerie Adams is pregnant with her second baby.

But the 34-year-old insists the news does not spell the end of her glittering athletics career.

Instead, New Zealand's Olympic queen says she's still on track for her grande finale - a fifth Olympic Games at Tokyo 2020.

Watch the exclusive interview above

In her only television interview, a delighted Dame Valerie told 1 NEWS she and husband Gabriel Price are expecting their second child in April next year.

"My pooch is a bit out, a little bit now, and I didn't want people to think I was just eating pies and not doing any training," Dame Valerie told 1 NEWS.

"The time is right for us to announce and it is a celebration."

The couple's first baby, Kimoana, turned one this week. Her birth represented victory in her parents' emotional and expensive battle against fertility problems.

The NZ Olympic queen says she plans to be at the 2020 games following the birth of her second child. Source: 1 NEWS

But wanting to add to their family while Dame Valerie is also in the twilight of her shot put career - and her fertility - it's left the couple with a difficult choice to make.

"I don't want to come end of Tokyo, look back and have any regrets. That's what I didn't want to happen because realistically, my fertility situation isn't great and this was my only chance. My timeframe was limited and I knew that. I'm 34 now and basically I'm going to menopause by the time I'm 43," she said.

"The risk of completing our family and training for the Olympics... I don't want that. First and foremost for me was actually giving Kimoana a sibling and completing a family. For us this is it.

"I don't want to be one of those should've, would've, could've. I've got the opportunity now, I need to take it. It's the same with sport, if you've got the opportunity, take it."

Just six months after Kimoana's birth, Dame Valerie was back in the throwing circle where she won a silver medal at the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.

This time, the double Olympic champion says she will have almost a year-and-a-half to prepare for the Tokyo Olympics.

"I think timing-wise it's all working out quite well for us," she said.

"It's more than what I got in Commonwealth Games, so, I'll take that. What I produced this year with a very short time that I had wasn't bad at all.

"It's possible to come out and have a pregnancy, have a baby and create your family but also go back to high-level sport, there's nothing that says you can't do that."

The Olympic legend is targeting the Tokyo Olympics in 2020 after announcing she’s pregnant. Source: 1 NEWS