New art exhibition lighting up night sky above Nelson

A Nelson art exhibition is brightening up the darkest months of the year.

Light Nelson is one of the city's largest events, with organisers hoping to see 60,000 people through its gates.

"It's a magical mystery tour. Light in the middle of winter," says featured artist Vincent Ward.

The free exhibition is in it's fourth year, with professional and amateur artists working long hours to get the 66 installations off the ground.

Nelson joiner Bruce Stilwell estimates he's spent 200 hours on his masterpiece, the "Mumbrella".

"Because it's the mother of all umbrellas," he explains.

"It's six metres in diameter. There are 10 laminated ribs and each of them had 250 screws and there’s approximately 10 kilometres of string."

With Mary Poppins not around to fly his project to the finish line, it was a team effort to transport the giant umbrella from Richmond into the city - needing to be lifted onto Mr Stilwell’s roof just to get it onto a trailer.

"It's really cool to hear the 'wow' yeah so makes it all worthwhile that's for sure," Mr Stilwell says.

Some other stand out pieces include a chandelier put together with 3000 recycled swizzle sticks and an illuminated whale made out of 1500 recycled plastic bags.

Artwork from New Zealand filmmaker Vincent Ward is also being showcased as part of the event, with a display projected onto the Suter Gallery.

"The last time the work was displayed was at the Shanghai Biennale, so it's the first outing it's had since then and it's the first time it's been shown on a building," says Mr Ward.

"My work's sort of mysterious in a way. Slightly meditative, it's reflective. And just takes them into another space, another world," he says.

On Thursday night, wheelchair users were given the chance to see the exhibition before its official opening.

"This time they get to have a really good look around, makes them feel special, part of a community that's catering to them now," says Nelson carer Nikki.

Light Nelson runs from Friday July 6 to Tuesday July 10.

More than 50,000 people are expected to check out Light Nelson. Source: 1 NEWS

Members of the public rush to save stranded whale at Auckland beach that turned out to be a fake

Members of the public flocked to Browns Bay in Auckland after spotting what looked like a stranded whale close to the shoreline, many people ran down to the waters edge to see if they could help.

However, it wasn't a real whale, but rather a life-like replica used by rescue charity Project Jonah.

"We thought we saw a whale in the water, so we stopped, got out and had a wee look," one onlooker said.

This weekend Project Jonah is holding two training sessions for volunteers.

"We're teaching people the basic skills needed to help keep stranded whales and dolphins alive," Project Jonah general manager Daren Grover said.

The trainers explained how to handle the mammals when they are in distress.

Two mammal replicas were used; a training dolphin, which when filled with water weighs 150 kilograms and a training whale which takes 2000 litres of water and can weigh up to two tonnes.

New Zealand has one of the highest stranding rates in the world, with more than 300 dolphins and whales coming ashore each year.

However, sometimes appearances can be deceiving. Source: 1 NEWS


Community demands answers over what caused kids to become seriously ill at a Carterton school

The Wairarapa community are demanding answers to what caused children at Carterton South End's school to become sick, after a strange smell wafted over the school yesterday afternoon.

Police ruled out initial reports that a plane flying overhead may have dropped a toxic substance on the school.

Parents at the school are angered and want answers as to what caused the illnesses.

Cody Pratt's daughter was one of the students who vomited after smelling a sulphur like substance.

"It was scary having my daughter in the school premises and being told I couldn't go in to get her was pretty daunting," said Mr Pratt.

"I definitely want to know what has gone on.

"Children came in after lunch and reported feeling unwell after the substance, or smelling a smell," he said.

Ten students were taken to hospital but returned to their homes last night.

The school was cleared to be re-opened for classes on Monday.

Police say they have conducted a thorough examination of the school and still haven't found a point of cause.

Police inquiries will now focus on the surrounding neighbourhood.

Police now believe they can rule out initial reports that a plane flying overhead may have dropped a toxic substance on the school. Source: 1 NEWS


Council trees in central Otago being chopped down by people helping themselves to the timber

The Central Otago council has called on police help to crack down on people illegally cutting down council trees.

Central Otago Mayor Tim Cadogan argues that the stumps in central Otago are evidence of illegal felling of trees by members of the public.

"Randomly coming up and knocking trees down without taking any safety measures in a place that the public walk their dogs, ride their bikes and so forth is actually really dangerous, as well as theft," said Mr Cadogan.

Culprits have been forced to hand the wood over to local charities when they have been caught.

But the council now says they will be handing the thieves over to police.

"We can't just keep taking that attitude so from now on it's going to be prosecutions, no questions asked, no warnings."

Families in need of timber in Alexandra are urged to use other sources, like the Salvation Army who hand out free and low cost wood, with the Rotary Club helping to split donated costs.

Alexandra Rotary president Charles French says this option is much safer.

"It is available here and there isn't really any need for people to go their own way with this," said Mr French.

The council says their concern is the safety of the public and the thieves.

It's becoming such a problem across the region the council's now cracking down and involving police. Source: 1 NEWS

Man dies after falling into Mt Ruapehu's Crater Lake

A man has died after falling into Crater Lake at Mount Ruapehu.

Emergency services were flown to the scene via helicopter at around 1.50pm.

The man was recovered from the lake by members of the group he was with before emergency services arrived.

An eyewitness told 1 NEWS that the man and a friend were having lunch, when their personal items began to slide down the hill.

They both slid down the ice to retrieve their items and one of them managed to stop, but the other couldn't and fell into the crater.

The death will be referred to the Coroner.

The man was pulled from the water by members of the public. Source: Josh Davis