Exclusive: Sir Edmund Hillary's Antarctic hut to remain frozen in time after government comes to fundraising party

A massive fund-raising effort means Sir Edmund Hillary's Antarctica hut will remain frozen in time.

A last-minute grant from the Government tops up a campaign to save the Scott Base landmark.

Sir Ed Hillary set off from the hut on a "helbent dash" to reach the South Pole.

Now fundraisers hellbent on saving the hut are celebrating after hitting their fundraising target of almost a million dollars, with a last minute top up from the Government.

Conservation Minister Maggie Barry made the trip south this week to see the run down shack.

It's leaking, melted ice is pooling under the floor boards and asbestos needs removing.

The Antartica Heritage trust raised nearly eight hundred thousand dollars.

Conservation Minister Maggie Barry said the hut is in dire need of restoration.

"Thousands of New Zealanders gave a lot of money really generously - $784,000 - but it is not quite enough"

So the Government has stepped in adding another $180,000.

The cash injection means urgent repairs can be carried out over the next six weeks.

It also means valuable artefacts in the hut can be preserved and photographed for future generations.

Mark Stewart from the Antartica Heritage trust says they are estatic with the news.

"It is not an easy environment to work in down there, we've currently got eight conservators down on the ice doing this and other projects"

The Conservation Minister hopes to ensure that the restoration "of this first hut of our Scott Base, can be restored in time for the 60th anniversary on the 20th of January next year".


Hillary's hut at Scott Base
Hillary's hut at Scott Base Source: 1 NEWS


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'Hobbies may help people with dementia,' says psychiatrist as Morris Minor enthusiast hits the road

It's World Alzheimer's Day, and as one Auckland man with the dementia told TVNZ1's Seven Sharp of his love of Morris Minor cars, a psychiatrist said hobbies may help people with the disorder.

Diagnosed with early onset dementia in his fifties, Jeff Atwell's 'Morrie' has also been his medicine, his wife Doreen Atwell said. 

"Wonderful medicine. It's better than any tablet you can take, the best medicine that Jeff could have had," she said.

Psychiatrist Dr Gary Cheung psychiatrist said hobbies may help people with dementia. 

"We are doing some research on a treatment called cognitive stimulation therapy at the moment," Dr Cheung said.

But hobbies don't only help the ill.

"I think there's plenty of research out there now showing doing activities with other people, or exercising with other people, is more beneficial than doing them alone," Dr Cheung said.

When Jeff and Doreen go driving, romantic memories ride along.

"We met at the old Papatoe Dance Hall. Bill Sevesi's band there was great," Jeff recalled.

They courted in Jeff's first 'Morrie Minor' and have been married almost 54 years.

"He sold it when he went into business before we got married to buy a van that was more practical," Doreen said.

We just did it. It's only recently that dementia and hobbies have been linked - Doreen Atwell

When Jeff saw a doer-upper Morris Minor convertible in the paper several decades later, it was irresistible.

Aged just 54, Jeff was diagnosed with young onset dementia, and 20 years on he moves slowly and needs a cane. 

He's had three strokes. But the bigger problems aren't so easy to see.

"Forgetfulness, that's one of the big things. Forgetting people's names," he said.

Jeff and Doreen made a decision to live for life and get the convertible back on the road.

"We just did it. It's only recently that dementia and hobbies have been linked," Doreen said.

The couple have thanked Dementia Auckland for helping them with Jeff's condition. 

And if you're in doubt about Dementia, as Doreen was when she noticed changes in Jeff 20 years ago, get in touch with your doctor. 

Jeff Attwell was diagnosed with the condition in his early fifties. Source: Seven Sharp

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Kiwi pilot and his interloping crew wow Reno Air Races at bone-rattling speeds

Graeme Frew admits he's got an addiction – one that gets him travelling at speeds of 580km/h just 15 metres off the ground.

The Blenheim pilot and his crew of Kiwi interlopers took on some of the world's best at the Reno Air Races in the US earlier this week with their Russian Yak Fighter plane called Full Noise.

The crew brought over their plane in a shipping container and assembled it again just two days before the first race – something organisers say have never been done.

The Americans fell in love with Frew and Full Noise so TVNZ1's Seven Sharp caught up with the adrenaline junkies to see how they pulled it off.

Watch the video above for more.

Seven Sharp’s Michael Holland was at the event in Nevada. Source: Seven Sharp


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Christchurch woman who built home for disabled brother 'astounded' at $23k consent bill

For years Kiwis have been putting up with council fees when building new homes, but one Christchurch woman thinks she has figures that shows it's getting out of control.

Liz Armon built a house for her retired, disabled brother David in south-east Christchurch – a one bedroom, open plan living house she wanted David to feel at home in.

The house cost $67,000 to build but then came Christchurch City Council's fees on top – an extra $23,000.

"I was absolutely astounded," Ms Armon said.

"Twenty-three thousand in total for consent costs when I had anticipated it being $1,500 after speaking to the council initially."

The hefty bill was made up of a development levy, consent fees, a flood level survey, with neighbouring Selwyn District Council carving some off the top as well.

"I can't understand why any council wouldn't want to support elderly people or families in need," Ms Armon said.

As it turns out, those main council taxes are made up of lots of smaller taxes for inspection fees, processing times and contributions for future parks and public transport in the area.

The council added the $12,500 development levy Ms Armon paid was actually a bargain with levies for houses in other subdivisions "typically" $20,000 to $30,000.

We take a look at a Christchurch woman’s eye-watering council bill. Source: Seven Sharp