Landmark Wellington church reopens for Easter four years after Seddon earthquake

A Wellington landmark and one of the most significant Catholic churches in New Zealand has re-opened its doors four years after the Seddon earthquake.

St Mary of the Angels has undergone almost $10 million in seismic strengthening, finishing just in time for Easter.

The spiritual and cultural home for Wellingtonians for nearly 100 years has been brought to life again.

Barbara Jones got married in the the church 66 years ago

"It's a very emotional occasion coming back home again. How lucky I am to have survived to come back here," she said.

She's one of many thankful St Mary of the Angels is back open for Easter.

"As we celebrate the passion and death and resurrection of Christ, St Mary of the Angels rises," said Father Barry Scannell.

The church fundraised $9.5 million for seismic strengthening, including $500,000 from the city council following the 2013 Seddon quake.

"I was here for that first earthquake. We just got under the pews, which I never thought I'd be able to do. But we did," Ms Jones said.

Parishioner Brian McGuiness was also at Mass when the 6.5 quake struck.

"It really rocked and rolled the church and a lot of people ran out," he said.

It's his construction company that's brought the church up to almost 100 per cent of the building code.

But you'd never know the difference thanks to 3D digital mapping that's helped preserve the 1922 gothic architecture and some creative solutions to replace columns along the 21-metre-high ceiling.

"As one of the foreman put it, if he knew there was an earthquake coming tomorrow he would bring all this family here," Father Scannell said. 

The church family will gather for its Mass today in a true sanctuary in the city. 

Wellington landmark St Mary of the Angels holds fond memories for many. Source: 1 NEWS

Legendary broadcaster Merv Smith of ZB breakfast fame dies

Legendary radio broadcaster Merv Smith has died.

Newstalk ZB reports Smith dominated breakfast airwaves at 1ZB from 1961 until Paul Holmes started the Newstalk format in 1987.

Former colleague Barry Holland said Smith was the first of the big personalities.

"My endearing memory of him was his humour and his timing. He was just so funny and so natural within himself, and so humble."

Holland said the new Newstalk format "just wasn't his sort of radio". 

"He thought that's the time to go and went and started up a country music radio station that came out of Albany."

After he retired from radio he followed his passion of trains, and ran Merv Smith Hobbies in Newmarket.

He was in his mid-80s.

Merv Smith and McHairy the spider who featured on the breakfast show. Source:


Watch: 'Show them who's boss' - AUT student's sassy graduation video goes viral

Graduation ceremonies are known for their pomp, their ceremony and their gravitas.

Unless you're Eteroa Lafoele, that is, then it's a slay fest.

Dancing and strutting her way across the stage, her AUT graduation video has gone viral.

Eteroa told TVNZ1's Seven Sharp about the moment inspiration hit.

"It was very dead, but I had a moment. I spent 30k on this piece of paper and mum and dad were in the audience, so I thought I'd just let loose.

"Show them who's boss," she said.

Her 23 seconds of stage time won't soon be forgotten. Eteroa says there are plenty of opportunities in life to "own it".

"Owning it, slaying it. Life only comes once. Take 20 secs of life to appreciate it, cos it's amazing."

With her computer science degree in hand, she is now ready to own the software development industry.

Seven Sharp’s Carolyn Robinson spoke with Eteroa Lafoele. Source: Seven Sharp


Mince recalled from an Auckland Pak'nSave after employee's mobile phone falls into mincer unnoticed

Pak'nSave Glen Innes, in Auckland, has been forceed to recall some of its mince meat due to a staff member's mobile phone falling into it unnoticed.

A Foodstuffs spokesperson told the NZ Herald that contrary to the store's approved protocols, one of its worker's had a mobile phone in the production area and it fell into the mincer without anyone noticing.

"The team responsible will be retrained to ensure that such an event does not occur in the future," the spokesperson said.

NZ Herald reports that consumers who bought beef and prime beef mince with a best before date of September 25, 2018 or were served over the counter minced meats with the best before of September 24, 2018 should not eat the products.

Customers can return the meat for a full refund.

The recall is only for mince bought from the Pak'nSave Glen Innes branch on Apirana Ave.

Source: 1 NEWS

TB in New Zealand 'is a disease of Māori and migrants'

Māori are eight times more likely to get tuberculosis than Pākehā.

New Zealand has low overall rates of tuberculosis, however Māori make up about 45 percent of the roughly 60 locally born cases each year.

Last year, it killed one person and a further 167 ended up in hospital.

TB has no symptoms and is not contagious, but between 5 to 10 percent of people who have it will develop the disease.

International expert Philip Hill said that up to half of older Māori could carry the dormant TB infection without knowing it.

"Māori people, the more I speak to, very often will say my grandfather, my father or my uncle died of TB.

"If you are exposed to a TB case, there is a good chance that you will become infected.

"Most of the time you won't get sick from that. Only about 5-10 percent develop the disease, but that can occur over any time from then for the rest of your life."

The problem is that no one knows how many people carry the dormant infection.

TB can cause fevers, night sweats and weight loss. It is a bacterial infection that often attacks the lungs and causes patients to cough up blood.

It is treated with a six month course of antibiotics, but the dormant infection is much easier to treat.

Professor Hill is assessing the feasibility of a nationwide study to identify Māori with a dormant TB infection.

"My gut feeling is that we will probably find an increasing amount of latent TB infection with increasing age.

"I would expect that between 10 and 50 percent of older Māori above the age of 50 may well be infected - but that is a wide range estimate."

The Waikato District Health Board sees two to four patients with TB every month.

"It is not common but it is not rare," said Dr Nina Scott, the clinical director of Māori health.

"The disparities in TB are huge. This is not a disease of white people, it is a disease of colonisation. It is a disease of Māori and migrants."

In the 1800s New Zealand was advertised as a place to come and recover from TB, she said.

"A lot of the reasons why [Māori] were dying out was because of TB. We had no resistance to it and people were coming from all over the world bringing their TB.

"We need to find out what the underlying rate of latent TB is in the Māori population. We don't even know the basics, that's why we are doing this research."

New Zealand has a low overall rate of the disease - about 300 cases a year - with more than three quarters of them from overseas.

But Māori make up almost half of the 60 locally born patients. Last year, three young children got TB, and they were all Māori.

ESR's Jill Sherwood said we do well to identify active TB and to treat it, but our numbers have not come down in the past decade.

"People should be concerned and understand that there is a lot of TB infection around the world.

"We need to make some decisions about how much resource we have to address that issue to prevent new cases of TB disease."

ESR is releasing its latest TB report today.

Leigh-Marama McLachlan

File picture Source: Supplied