NZ pledges further $1.5 million to Pacific Islands Cyclone Gita relief

Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters says New Zealand will contribute a further $1.5 million to help with the emergency response and early recovery efforts in the wake of Tropical Cyclone Gita.

The money is on top of the $750,000 that the Government has already contributed to the relief efforts.

"This additional funding will be directed to Tonga, Samoa and Fiji which have all felt the impact of the cyclone," said Mr Peters.

The storm also pounded Fiji's southernmost islands. Source: 1 NEWS

"A picture of the extent of damage caused by Cyclone Gita is emerging and it is clear a big response and clean-up job lies ahead. We are here to help our neighbours get through this," he said.

This latest funding will be used to replenish New Zealand Red Cross relief supplies in Tonga and provide up to $750,000 for New Zealand NGOs to deliver ongoing emergency relief and early recovery activities in Samoa and Tonga.

Today's announcement brings the total funding allocated for the New Zealand response to Tropical Cyclone Gita to $2,250,000.

Jane Foster said Oxfam is still waiting for contact to be re-established with two of Fiji's southern Lau islands, after the edge of Gita brushed them yesterday. Source: Breakfast

Body found in Motueka estuary

A body has been found in Motueka, in the Tasman District, today.

Police say the body was found in Motueka estuary. They were called to the scene at 5pm.

They say the body appears to have been there for some time.

The body has not been identified and police are urging anyone with information that might help them identify the person to contact Nelson Police on (03) 546 3840.

Source: 1 NEWS


Rhino love stories being made at Orana Park in Christchurch

A Canterbury zoo has joined an Australasian programme aiming to build a backup population of rhinos in case of extinction.

Experts say the wild population is on a rapid decline and we should be preparing for the worst.

"Poaching is at unprecedented levels and at this rate poaching is outstripping the birth rate," Orana Park Chief Executive Lynn Anderson said.

Christchurch's Orana Park is playing matchmaker, joining the Australian Rhino Project to help offset a grim scenario.

"If the worst happens and rhino do become extinct in the wild which would be a terrible thing, we have a good population safe here in Australasia," Ms Anderson said.

Orana Park already has six rhinos and plans to take on even more by swapping animals with zoos from across the ditch to stop inbreeding.

The animals are in danger of extinction so they've joined an Australasian breeding programme. Source: 1 NEWS