Government sets goal of making Auckland's Waiheke Island predator free by 2025

Auckland's Waiheke Island will be predator free by 2025.

That's the goal of the Government which Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage announced today for Te Korowai o Waiheke: Towards Predator Free Waiheke.

A total of $10.9 million is budgeted for the project which was launched at Piritahi Marae on the Hauraki Gulf island today. Of that $2.6 million will come from the Predator Free 2050 fund.

"Successful eradication of stoats and rats from Waiheke would make it the world’s largest and most populated island predator eradication project," Ms Sage says.

"A predator-free Waiheke will see the return of native birds from neighbouring predator-free islands such as Motuihe, Motutapu and Rangitoto.

“We are already starting to see this happen with the recent return of North Island kākā to Waiheke.

"Eradicating rats and stoats will enable North Island kākā, kākāriki, kereru, tui, korimako or bellbird, piwakawaka or fantail, tūturiwhatu or New Zealand dotterel, ōi or grey-faced petrel and kororā or little blue penguins to breed safely and increase in number on Waiheke."

Ms Sage says Auckland Council, Predator Free 2050 and Foundation North are providing the bulk of the funding for the people of Waiheke to rid their island of stoats and rats.

Waiheke Island / Auckland
Waiheke Island (file picture). Source:

Queenstown ziplining business challenging young Kiwi gamers to connect with the outdoors through Fortnite-themed tour

Flying through the trees instead of staring at screens, Ziptrek Ecotours is a zipline adventure in Queenstown challenging young Kiwi gamers to connect with the outdoors.

One of the tours is themed around the popular online video game, Fortnite.

Ziptrek Ecotours' sales and marketing manager Nicky Busst said, "Fortnite is out in the forest, you get to do challenges, they have victory dances they do, everyone knows 'the floss'".

Played by more than 40 million people worldwide, some are concerned the survival game has an addictive nature.

"I'm also a parent of two boys that I believe spend way too much time on computer games and have become addicted to the Fortnite craze," Ms Busst said.

So they brought "the floss" to the forest, with special challenges and even a Fornite-themed dance-off to take the game off the screen.

On average, high school students spend around 12 hours per week gaming, with only 10 per cent of them meeting the Ministry of Health's recommendations for 60 minutes of exercise a day.

James Driver, a psychotherapist specialising in gaming addiction, says, "While early research suggests the numbers are low at around five per cent, the effects can be severe".

"It can have fairly significant impacts on people's mental health. It can increase depression and anxiety," Mr Driver said.

After the experience, one child said, "I get outside a fair bit but I probably should get outside a bit more". 

"It's a good lesson to know, like, to stay outside and not just always be on your computer," another said.

The company is also challenging more Kiwi kids to get outdoors through the online game. Source: 1 NEWS

New initiative underway to get more Kiwi kids on Wi-Fi - 'A hugely exciting opportunity for our kids and their whanau'

A new initiative is underway to get more Kiwi kids on Wi-Fi at home.

The trial involves more than 100 households in Naenae, in the Lower Hutt, which has one of the lowest rates of connectivity.

Matt Reid, the Chair of the Te Awakairangi Access (TAKA) Trust, says we are "seeing the growth of the digital divide".

"What we want to do is level that playing field so all New Zealand kids can benefit from modern learning," he said.

Mr Reid's community trust estimates up to 30 per cent of children don't have internet outside of school hours, so they're piloting a program giving 125 students a Chromebook and Wi-Fi access in their homes.

"Certainly, I think money definitely is a barrier, cost is a barrier, and so what our trust is trying to do is level the playing field so we're taking away that barrier which is so important.

"Education is gonna make such a difference in these young people’s lives in their futures."

Rata Street School deputy principal Glenda Stewart has called the scheme "a hugely exciting opportunity for our kids and for their whanau".

Mr Reid said the programme helps extend the "learning bubble" from "seven in the morning till often eight at night".

"They can learn with both in the classroom but also at home with family with friends," he said.

Backers are hoping the project will eventually roll out across the country.

There are concerns too many children are still missing out on technology at home. Source: 1 NEWS


Woman dead, two other people critically injured in Christchurch stabbing

One woman is dead and two people are in a critical condition after a stabbing in Christchurch.

Police were called to a stabbing on Ilam Rd in Christchurch. One woman was killed and another man is in critical condition.
Source: 1 NEWS

Police were called to Ilam Road at 7.50pm on Saturday.

Detective Senior Sergeant Scott Anderson said a man and woman were stabbed by another man, who then turned the knife on himself.

He says those involved were known to each other.

Police are not seeking anyone else over the incident.

Little South Auckland town celebrating their own female pioneers

Next week will mark 125 years since women in New Zealand won the right to vote.

As the country prepares to mark the historic day, a little town south of Auckland is celebrating their own female pioneers.

The residents of Pukekohe say women’s suffrage is about the lasting inspiration it gave to those who followed.

Hundreds turned out today to show their appreciation and remembered those like the woman who started a female fitness club in 1913 or ran for president of the RSA.

Pukekohe's not the only town making big noise this year, a number of towns up and down the country are expected to hold events like this, ahead of next Wednesday's 125th celebration.

Hundreds will join Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in Auckland’s Aotea Square for a sunrise salute to those who made the women’s vote and countless other everyday tasks possible.

Pukekohe turned out to celebrate their own as New Zealand gets set to mark 125 years since women’s suffrage. Source: 1 NEWS