Milford Sound echoes with opera for family centre charity

Milford Sound had a rather dulcet tone to it overnight as an up-and-coming Dunedin Opera singer serenaded nearly 60 guests on an overnight cruise.

Dunedin opera singer Sophie Morris serenaded guests on a Mlford Sound cruise in aid of the Queenstown Lakes Family Centre. Source: 1 NEWS

It was the final training night for the Real Journey'" staff who were able to practice their skills hosting guests - with all proceeds going to local charity Queenstown Lakes Family Centre.

The guests bought tickets to the event and all of the $11,000 raised will go towards shortening the centre's six-week waiting list for families in need of support.

Singer Sophie Morris donated her time and voice to sing in what's arguably one of New Zealand's most picturesque spots.

"Our service is so over burdened that families who've reached their breaking point are having to wait far too long to be seen," says Ilona Weekley, QLFC General Manager.

"These funds will enable us to increase clinical hours to respond to these families in a timely manner," she says.


Tertiary students tackle social, cultural and environmental issues in dazzling Auckland light show

Unitec Institute of Technology is using innovative electric vehicle technology to power students’ light installations at this year’s GLOW@Artweek festival on Devonport’s Windsor Reserve.

Unitec partnered with Auckland energy company Vector for the light show where installations by students look at different issues in society.

The festival also prides itself on being environmentally friendly, with energy being taken from two Nissan Leaf G2 electric cars to provide the power needed to run the nine different light projects.

The cars act as a rechargeable and mobile renewable energy source for the duration of the festival.

Vector’s New Technology Lead, Moonis Vegdani, says, “Two-way EV chargers are an example of the future of energy. They basically transform electric vehicles into mobile storage batteries, enabling energy to be charged or discharged anywhere there is a two-way charger. It’s perfect for a temporary light installation such as GLOW@Artweek.”

Nine teams of second-year Unitec Architecture students designed a diverse range of interactive light installations on Devonport’s Windsor Reserve for the event, working to a zero-waste, zero-budget brief.

Students sought sponsorship for their designs, which also featured a range of sustainable materials.

"Sustainability is a key factor in the design and construction of the students’ works and having access to an alternative, rechargeable power source in a large-scale outdoor venue is extremely exciting," Unitec Architecture lecturer Ainsley O'Connell said. 

Devonport came to life thanks to the work of Unitec architecture students in “Glow”. Source: 1 NEWS


Five rare kiwi chicks fighting fit for release in Southland

Five rare kiwi chicks will be released back into their Southland home now they are heavy enough to fight off stoats alone.

The Haast Tokoeka Kiwi is the rarest kiwi, with a wild population of between 400 and 500 birds.

The chicks were raised in a kiwi creche on predator-free Rona Island in Lake Manapouri.

Department of Conservation South Westland senior ranger Inge Bolt said the island had kept the birds safe from stoats, which would kill most kiwi before they became adults.

"Only Haast tokoeka, which have reached a weight of 1.6kg, will make the final move back to their place of birth. At this weight, they are better able to fend off attack from stoats."

It took many people, organisations and volunteers to raise kiwi to an age where they could be returned to their home.

Without their work, the wild population of Haast Tokoeka kiwi would be significantly lower, Ms Bolt said.

"It's a really important thing that we step in and do what we can at this stage, we're trying to find out more as we go so that we can better understand the species, and the more that we understand them, the better we can help them."

The chicks will be released next week.

Close up of a kiwi bird a flightless bird endemic to New Zealand.
Kiwi. Source:



'New Zealand's space industry personified' – an exclusive look inside Rocket Lab's new Auckland factory

He's a man who's spent plenty of time on spaceships, so it's no surprise that actor William Shatner, who played Captain Kirk on Star Trek, scored himself an invite to Rocket Lab's new factory in Auckland yesterday.

But as entertaining as Shatner is, Seven Sharp opted for an exclusive behind-the-scenes look with a man who thrilled us six weeks ago with his animated explanation of lightning.

Professor Craig Rodger took over reporting duties from Seven Sharp’s Michael Holland to take us through "New Zealand's space industry personified". 

To find out more about Rocket Lab's "magical moment", click on the video above.

Once up to speed it’s hoped the Mt Wellington factory will build a new Electron rocket every week. Source: Seven Sharp

Search on for mystery woman in recently discovered Christchurch love letter

An unusual photo with a love letter on the back has been found in an old attic at the Christchurch Arts Centre.

The letter was uncovered during a restoration of the Observatory Tower which was severely damaged in the earthquakes.

Who is the beauty in the photo, and who wrote the letter? 

Seven Sharp reporter Julian Lee looks for clues in the video above.

An unusual photo with a love letter on the back has been found in an old attic at the Christchurch Arts Centre. Source: Seven Sharp