New invention launched to tackle issue of microbeads on Wellington's beaches

A new invention to clear plastic microbeads off beaches is being piloted in Wellington.

The microbeads, called nurdles, are a pollution issue on several beaches around the city and removing them is an ongoing challenge.

The invention resembles an ordinary wheelie bin, but beach cleaners are hoping it could be a game changer. 

"It's such a fantastic invention because we've really been looking for a way for so long to get these nurdles off the beach," said student volunteer Caitlyn Shannon. 

"These little bits of plastic are real harmful to the fish because it looks like plankton, like their food," added another 13-year-old volunteer, Jack Tetley.

The device works by filling the bin with seawater where contaminated soil or sand is tipped in. The nurdles then rise to the top and are collected, and the rest goes back on the beach. 

"This in the past has taken me 20 hours to filter through this - and you can see how much there is - where this has taken two hours," said Mandy Coleman from Sea Shepherd Wellington.

Plastic microbeads are often used to make products, but spills from companies mean they end up in the ocean. 

"I've been really shocked," said Mr Tetley. "It's really disappointing to see how much is there."

The filter was invented by the head of Lower Hutt plastic manufacturer Synapco.

"It would be easy to say, 'Aw, you're doing penance for cleaning up your own mess,' and there was some concern that people might think that," said Synapco General Manager Dave Pine. "But at the end of the day you know I dive in the harbour. I collect scallops and things for my family to eat." 

There are currently six bins in Wellington and plans to provide more. But as yesterday's haul of 150 kilograms of waste shows, a lot more work is needed.

Beach cleaners are hoping this new invention will be a game changer in cleaning up microbeads. Source: 1 NEWS



Eleven Glenorchy homes still without power 48 hours after early spring snowfall

Some resident in Central Otago's Glenorchy are still without power 48 hours after a spring snowfall caused major disruptions in the deep south.

Eleven properties remains with power this morning.

Aurora Energy is hoping to have power restored to the area by this evening.

Around 360 households in the central Otago town are affected, with Aurora Energy hoping to have electricity back on by this evening. Source: Breakfast

In many places power was cut, schools were closed and flights cancelled. Source: 1 NEWS

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Watch: Artist uses pyramid in central Auckland to spread some joy around town

A Kiwi artist are architect is using a pyramid in central Auckland to spread some joy.

Matt Liggins has made it his mission to ask people what makes them smile, but instead of rolling up to you on the street he's built a pyramid to help lighten people's moods.

TVNZ1's Seven Sharp's Lucas de Jong went along to take a look and share a laugh in the video above.

Matt Liggins has made it his mission to ask Kiwis what makes them smile. Source: Seven Sharp

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Meet the transgender Wellington school caretaker brightening up kids' days

A transgender caretaker at a Wellington school has been using her musical talents to brighten up the kids' days.

Molly Mason was born as Michael, but soon discovered she was a female born in a man's body.

"I believe I'm a woman, and I associate as a woman, so I live my life as a woman," Molly told TVNZ1's Seven Sharp.

Molly has a love of music that began when she was just six.

Now, in her role as caretaker at a Wellington school, she uses her talent to good effect by beat boxing with the kids at lunchtime.

"When I realised that beat boxing and making sounds was something I couldn't live without, that was it, nothing else mattered."

However, to be this woman - that little boy Michael, had a fight on his hands.

"I got bullied from primary school right through until the day I left college and left Blenheim."

Molly is now proud to be transgender and says the stage is her safe place. She performs as her drag alter ego called Bette Noir.

"Anything that makes me sad, makes me worried, makes me scared, anything that I find stressful, it's not there, it's gone." 

Seven Sharp’s Arrun Soma spoke with Molly Mason. Source: Seven Sharp


Ministry of Justice union members strike, launching a month of industrial action over pay

Court security officers and Family Court coordinators are among Ministry of Justice employees going on strike for two hours nationwide today as they start more than four weeks of industrial action over pay.

Ministry of Justice members of the Public Service Association will strike from 10.30am to 12.30pm today.

PSA National Secretary Glenn Barclay said on Monday that eleventh hour meetings were held between the PSA Bargaining Team and Ministry of Justice to reach a resolution but no movement on fundamental pay issues was offered.

He said the union is seeking an outcome that ensures members including court security officers, registry officers, victim advisors, court reporters and Family Court coordinators are reasonably paid. 

The ministry’s own engagement survey shows that only a third of staff feel valued for the work that they do, with a clear impact on recruitment and retention issues across the ministry, Mr Barclay said. 

He said the ministry offered the third lowest average salary in the public sector last year and the PSA believes this is being worsened. 

As well as strike action today, the employees will ban overtime, only work contracted hours of work and take common breaks until October 19 "to push for fair pay systems and a modest across-the-board pay increase," Mr Barclay said.

Kaitaia, New Zealand - August 18, 2014: Kaitaia District/Family Court outdoor sign and symbol. It is the most northern District Court in new zealand
Kaitaia District Court. Source: istock.com