Expert explains latest theory on whale strandings during New Zealand visit

Acclaimed whale expert Philip Hoare is in New Zealand where he spoke to TVNZ1's Seven Sharp about all things whale - including the latest theory on why the mammals strand.

One big new theory in the world of whale research relates to solar activity - which may lead the mammals to land.

"So solar charges, solar pulses coming from the sun - the same things that create the aurora, the aurora australis and the aurora borealis - that same effect can affect their natural GPS, their natural navigation systems and deceive them into going into shallow waters and then stranding," Hoare says.

"We know there was a big stranding back in 2016 - dozens of whales stranded all around the world - and pretty much linked to a lot of solar activity".

Hoare said he first realised he was a whale fanatic when he started going on whale watches, saying, "The captain started looking at me really weirdly like 'Who is this guy?' My friend accused me of being a whale stalker."

Hoare's obsession with watching whales soon led to writing about them, which soon became a full-time gig.

"I work a lot in Cape Cod (in the US) with a humpback whale research team there. I talk to a lot of scientists, and that's my job, really - to be the conduit between all that incredible science that's going on there that sometimes stays in the lab and I want to bring that out."

"I get paid to go and see whales - I get paid to do this."

Seven Sharp’s Mike Thorpe met Hoare where else but at sea off Kaikoura. Source: Seven Sharp



Auckland woman admits pimping out 14-year-old girl for sex

A 19-year-old woman has admitted pimping out a 14-year-old, accepting money from the client, and driving the girl to and from hotels around downtown Auckland.

Monoka Kelly appeared at the High Court in Auckland this morning where she pleaded guilty to a representative charge of sexually exploiting a 14-year-old girl.

Kelly's charge covers four occasions in March and April last year.

According to the summary of facts, she set up a profile for the 14-year-old on a smartphone app used by prostitutes.

The 19-year-old solo mother took the girl to the hotels and then received payment from the client by way of internet bank transfers.

Some of the money went to the 14-year-old.

Kelly was due to go on trial next week but this morning's guilty plea means the trial is not necessary.

Justice Downs remanded her on bail but said there was every prospect she would face a lengthy prison term when she appeared for sentence in November.

rnz.co.nz

Justice Source: 1 NEWS

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Hamilton high school principal slammed for speech saying truants were highly likely to become rape victims

A Hamilton high school principal has been condemned for a speech in which she said truants were highly likely to end up in prison, be illiterate, a rape victim or commit suicide.

A student secretly recorded the school assembly speech by Fraser High School principal Virginia Crawford and uploaded it to YouTube.

In the speech, Crawford called any truant a “statistic of the worst kind".

"Highly likely to go to prison, either commit domestic violence or be a victim of domestic violence, be illiterate, be a rape victim, be a suicide victim, be unemployed for the majority of their life, have a major health problem, die at an early age, have an addiction, gambling, drugs or smoking,” she said.

"When I drive out of school during class time for meetings, and I see groups of students sitting outside the dairy, fish and chip shop, bus stop, some of the things I am thinking is that is another group of students without a future.

"That is another student who will end up as a statistic, that's another loser, that's another wannabe. Another student desperate for friendship, another we've lost."

She urged students to work hard in school to make better lives for themselves.

One parent commented on the YouTube video, saying they would pull their daughter out of the school.

“This is actually quite disturbing, I'm seriously concerned as my daughter attends this school. Yes she's had days off school, and there's been a time I've forgotten to call...... But wen u say such things like this?” the parent wrote.

“You have failed my daughter as an educator, you have failed the system, my daughter hasn't failed as a student and I haven't failed as a parent. This revolting tormenting speech has only proven that YOU madam principal are the FAILURE in this matter. Disgusting inappropriate accusations. I'm pulling my daughter out until you are replaced.”

Another commenter said his stepson would no longer attend Fraser High School after hearing the speech.

“I'm glad too (sic) say that my wife's son…will no longer be attending 'fraser high school'. After seeing this speech I was literally shaking, this kind of offensive culture should not be permitted in New Zealand,” he wrote.

Board of Trustees parent representative Milton Ngaruhe told Stuff that he had been sent messages about the speech, but hadn't had parents complain to him about it. 

"Personally I haven't had a chance to listen to more than a minute of the video and there is a process that we go through."1

1 NEWS has tried to contact the school. 

A child at school.

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Drum lines set out as hunt begins for shark that attacked Kiwi girl in Queensland

Drum lines will be set after two tourists were critically injured in separate attacks at a harbour in the Whitsunday Islands in north Queensland.

A 12-year-old New Zealand girl holidaying with her father and sister received a life-threatening wound to her leg on Thursday afternoon at Cid Harbour.

The attack came less than 24 hours after Tasmanian woman Justine Barwick, 46, was also bitten on her left thigh while snorkelling in the same harbour.

The child was in a critical condition at Mackay Base Hospital but it's understood she will be transported to Brisbane for further treatment.

Ms Barwick was taken to Brisbane on Thursday and her condition has since been upgraded to stable in intensive care at the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital.

Fisheries Queensland will set three baited drum lines in the harbour on Friday in a bid to catch the shark or sharks responsible.

"It is possible that there's more than one shark involved in these unfortunate events," the department's shark control program manager Jeff Krause told the ABC.

"We don't normally go out and search for any sharks that may have been involved in a shark attack but due to the nature of these multiple attacks, Fisheries Queensland is going to deploy three drum lines in a bid to try and catch some of the sharks in that area."

Mr Krause said various types of whaler species as well as bull and tiger sharks can be found in waters around the harbour and he advised against swimming in or near Cid Harbour for the time being.

The last attack in the area was eight years ago.

Shark attack expert Daryl McPhee, from Bond University, said while the likelihood of being attacked by a shark is slim, the Great Barrier Reef has a higher population of sharks than other areas.

"That increases the chances of something happening," Associate Professor McPhee said.

"Sharks will bite things that they think are prey and sometimes they consider people prey."

Emergency services say the young girl lost a lot of blood in the Whitsunday Islands attack. Source: Breakfast


1080 case goes to Māori Land Court as two Northland men challenge DOC's right to drop on Russell State Forest

Two Northland men challenging DOC's right to drop 1080 on Russell State Forest say it needs to show it has consent from Māori and the community.

Riki Ngakoti and Hayward Brown have applied to the Māori Land Court for an injunction to stop the pesticide drop that's set to happen in the next fortnight.

Auckland opponents of 1080 trying to stop a drop in the Hunua Ranges, have taken their case to the Environment Court.

But Mr Ngakoti said he had sought advice from the Tikanga Māori Law Society and believed the Māori Land Court had jurisdiction.

"There will be arguments by the settlers of New Zealand - our fellow Kiwis - and government officials, that the Department of Conservation manages Crown land. We had that argument from the court when we applied, but we...interpret that land to be Māori customary land."

Mr Ngakoti said he and Mr Brown were not so much anti-1080 as anti-risk and DOC had not provided a forum in which that risk could be publicly evaluated and debated.

"We have tried to do a bit of research but some of the risks we haven't been able to satisfy ourselves about are the effect of 1080 on the environment below the ground... the micro-organisms, the works, the bugs - there hasn't been thorough research."

The Māori Land Court will hold the injunction hearing on Monday in Whangarei.

Meanwhile the lawyer acting for the Auckland 1080 opponents, Sue Grey, said further court challenges to the use of 1080 were inevitable.

"There has been no forum for public conversation and it got much worse last year when the former Minister for the Environment Nick Smith passed...regulations exempting 1080 from all the usual resource consent processes.

"You need resource consent if you want to extend your fence - but DOC doesn't have to get a consent or have any public consultation for dropping poison into public areas."

That had led to a build-up of pressure because people had genuine concerns and nowhere to air them, she said.

DOC has linked the anti-1080 spam campaign on Facebook to threats against its staff, based on misinformation about the toxin

But Ms Grey said she stood by her advice to 1080 opponents to use social media to promote their cause.

"I would never advocate any threats or violence. My view is that the court processes are there and we need to use them and that's what I encourage my clients to do."

Ms Grey said there had been a lot of allegations made about threats but she had her doubts.

"I've just seen an OIA response from the police and it seems that very few of those alleged incidents did happen," she said.

"There seems to be a pattern of exaggeration of these threats."

However DOC and Forest and Bird sources told RNZ there had been very serious threats made and staff were worried.

By Lois Williams

rnz.co.nz

Source: rnz.co.nz