'An eco-conscious choice' says Dunedin fashion designer producing real rabbit fur coats

Eco-conscious and environmentally friendly, that’s the message from a Dunedin fashion designer who’s started producing rabbit fur coats.

“It’s a choice whether to wear fur or not, and if you wish for the luxury of fur, then maybe you should be making an eco-conscious choice,” Lapin designer and owner Jane Avery says.

Unlike several other furs, rabbits are considered a pest, with councils across the South Island working to decrease a rapidly growing population.

Central Otago rabbiter Ray Moffat, who catches the rabbits for Avery, encourages the fashion option.

“If they’re getting killed anyway, they’ve got to go, so why not utilise the product that can come off them,” Moffat says.

Avery also believes the coats are a far better alternative, than that of faux fur.

“People are realising these days that synthetic furs are bad for the environment, they don’t biodegrade,” says Avery.

The coats, that can take up to six weeks to manufacture, use between sixteen and fifty-five rabbit skins to produce.

Jane Avery says rabbits are a pest that are killed regardless - she’s making use of what they can provide. Source: 1 NEWS

Kiwi company creates world first sustainable silica with big business potential

Taupō's natural hot springs provide energy for around 50,000 domestic homes, but there is a valuable mineral in the murky pools that goes to waste.

Now, at Ohaaki Power Station, they've built a brand new plant to extract the silica from geothermal fluid.

In a world first, the boiling liquid is rapidly cooled and the silica is removed through state of the art filters.

"We filter that out, wash it and concentrate it and we further process it into the products we sell on the market." John Lea from Geo40 told 1 NEWS as he gave a tour of the new plant.

The finished product is a liquid form of colloidal silica, or a powder type substance. It may not look special, but it's used across the construction industry and can be used to make golf clubs and even medical implants.

The project is a partnership with Contact Energy, who run Ohaaki Power Station and the local iwi Ngāti Tahu. John Lea says it has big global potential.

"The business potential is huge. The global market for silica is around one million tonnes, this plant produces 460 tonnes of product. As we grow in the geothermal industry in NZ the potential here is to have quite a substantial export earner for the country."

Extracting the substance has some added benefits. It means the power station can generate up to 30 per cent more electricity

The silica-free water will also be pumped back into the historical Ohaaki Ngawha, restoring the hot spring's clarity.

Ngāti Tahu say they partnered with the project to provide jobs for their people. Aroha Campbell says some have already been employed on site.

"One of the aspirations for the Ngāti Tahu Tribal Lands Trust is to rebuild a community because that is what used to be here."

With worldwide orders already, the plan is to expand production across all geothermal fields in the area.

The finished product can be used across the construction industry, for golf clubs and even medical implants. Source: 1 NEWS


Watch: Is driving a manual gear shift a dying art?

With the continued rise in automatic car sales it would seem that manuals might be on the way out.

In the last 15 years new automatic vehicle sales have almost tripled from 49,000 a year to more than 135,000. In the same period manual sales have halved from 31,000 to 16,000.

However, not everyone is convinced the rise of the automatic vehicle is a good thing.

TVNZ1's Seven Sharp met up with a driving instructor who pitched his case for the trusty old manual transmission in the video above.

It seems we may all be getting a little lazy when it comes to changing gears. Source: Seven Sharp