Most watched: Meet the Iraqi immigrant family learning Te Reo Maori - 'We have a responsibility to speak the language'

This story was first published on Thursday September 13.

Mariam Arif and her whānau are immersing themselves in te reo, as a way to feel more at home. Source: Seven Sharp

This last year has seen the number of people wanting to learn the Māori language skyrocket.

From the cape to the bluff - people are queueing up to get into Te Reo Māori classes.

One of those is an Iraqi immigrant and her whānau - who have immersed themselves in the Māori language.

"We are living on this land so we have a responsibility to speak the language of this land," Mariam Arif told Seven Sharp.

She's been living here for 20 years but has only been learning Te Reo Māori for two of those.

"When I started, I didn't really like talking, but I didn't give up and stop, didn't get shy and didn't get lazy and now I'm a lot better."

Ms Arif can speak three languages, English, Arabic and Te Reo Māori.

With her family also getting in on the act, she has plenty of people to help practice her newest language.


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Auckland Girl Guides and Brownies 'shocked' to learn women had to fight for the vote 125 years ago

A group of Auckland Girl Guides and Brownies are learning about the biggest women's rights fight in New Zealand history, days out from the 125th anniversary of Kiwi women winning the right to vote.

There's a big celebration next week. It was September 19 1893 that New Zealand became the first self-governing country in the world in which all women had the right to vote in parliamentary elections.

Te Atatu Girl Guide Leah Kim, 10, told Seven Sharp it really upset her to learn that women didn't get to vote until the law was changed 125 years ago.

"I didn't understand why men just got to vote and not women," she said.

Girl Guide Leader Nicola Igusa said when the girls realised that women didn't have the same rights "they feel really shocked and surprised and say 'why? why not?. That's really unfair'. Small children are really focused on fairness, so they really get it".

Kate Sheppard had tried and failed to change the law with petitions in both 1891 and 1892, but she refused to give up.

She organised 'the monster petition' of 31,872 signatures - 25 per cent of all adult women, whose collective voices created a mammoth paper protest, 274 metres long.

A new Electoral Act was passed  and in the General Election that followed a whopping 85 per cent of New Zealand women registered to vote, did so.

Next week will be 125 years since New Zealand women won the right to vote. Source: Seven Sharp


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Could the humble raffle draw be the solution to New Zealand's housing crisis?

A homeowner in the UK struggling to sell their property has come up with a novel way to get shift of it that could also take off in New Zealand.

The owner of a 1760 Georgian heritage-listed property is raffling off their multi-million-dollar home with tickets costing $25 a pop.

Seven Sharp looks at whether raffling houses could be the solution to New Zealand's housing crisis in the video above.

In the UK, a 1760 Georgian heritage-listed property is being raffled – could it happen here? Source: Seven Sharp

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Powerball struck for fourth time in a month as winner scoops $7.2 million

Powerball was struck for the fourth time in a month tonight when a punter from Silverdale north of Auckland scooped $7.2 million.

The prize is made up of $7 million from Powerball First Division and $200,000 from Lotto First Division.

The winning ticket was sold at Pak'nSave Silverdale in Silverdale. 

It's the fourth time in as many weeks that Powerball First Division has been struck, following on from late-August’s $5 million Powerball win by a Christchurch couple. Those lucky winners plan to use their winnings to go on the trip of a lifetime to Italy. 

Four other Lotto players will also be celebrating tonight after each winning $200,000 with Lotto First Division. 

The winning Lotto tickets were sold at Kelson General Store in Lower Hutt, Richmond Night N Day in Nelson, Ilam New World in Christchurch and New World Gore.  

Meanwhile, Strike Four was won by two players in Waikato and Tauranga, who each take home $50,000. Both those winning Strike tickets were sold on MyLotto.

Lotto Powerball (file picture).
Lotto Powerball (file picture). Source: Lotto


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Eighteen kilo meth import in printer toner cartridges sees Canadian man jailed in Auckland

A Canadian man was sentenced to eight-and-a-half years’ imprisonment in the Manukau District Court today for importing and possessing 17.9 kilograms of methamphetamine that was found in printer toner cartridges and had a street value of up to $9 million. 

Jingyuan Zhang, 28, will serve at least half of this term before facing deportation.

Zhang and his travel companion arrived at Auckland Airport from Canada in January and Zhang stayed in temporary accommodation in south-east Auckland. 

In March, Customs examined a mail consignment from the United States linked to Zhang, locating finely powdered methamphetamine in 12 printer toner cartridges. Customs monitored the delivery of the cartridges and arrested Zhang.

Michael Blades, Customs’ Acting Group Manager Intelligence, Investigations & Enforcement, says renting short-term accommodation to receive illegal drugs is a known tactic of criminal syndicates.

He says if someone has concerns about anyone renting short-term accommodation and making out-of-the ordinary inquiries about receiving packages, they can be reported in confidence to 0800 4 CUSTOMS or to Crimestoppers.

Customs says based on the New Zealand Drug Harm Index, the potential social harm avoided through this seizure is estimated to be $22.1 million.

Methamphetamine was found in toner cartridges. Source: Supplied