One person dead after helicopter crash in Central Otago

A helicopter has crashed in Central Otago shortly before midday today, killing one person and leaving another seriously injured.

Police have confirmed the crash in the Lindis Pass area.

St John confirmed the death and said one other person - the only other occupant - had been flown to Dunedin Hospital in a critical condition.

Due to the remoteness of the area, the Otago Rescue Helicopter from Dunedin didn't arrive until 11:50am.

It’s believed the crash occurred on a steep hill, as the cliff rescue team were also flown in with Aspiring Helicopters from Wanaka.

The Civil Aviation Authority has been notified of the crash. 

The Lindis Pass road.
The Lindis Pass road. Source: Michal Klajban/Wikimedia Commons



Students at all-girls school in Southland protest absence of trades classes

Female students are calling for trades classes to be offered at their Southland all-girls school.

Currently, Southland Girls High School does not offer woodwork or metalwork programmes in their school curriculum, making it difficult for students interested in learning the trade to try their hand at the subject, Stuff reports.

Southland Girls High School principal Yvonne Browning said the school is "not adverse to (offering the classes) at all" but there are issues surrounding the school's ability to do so, including funding constraints, health and safety and staffing numbers.

Ms Browning said school isn't the only area to expose female students to the trades.

"I don't think you have to be at school to be able to do it," she said. "It's not imperative to do it at school."

However, Otago Girls' High School, which has been offering hard materials courses for over two decades, says the classes are popular among students.

"We see the skills the girls develop through hard materials technology as really enhancing their educational experience with critical thinking, creativity and communication key," said principal Linda Miller. 

Ministry of Education spokeswoman Pauline Cleaver said parents or caregivers can "provide feedback and input into their local school on the curriculum" and "should approach their school if they have concerns about their school's curriculum".

Unrecognizable manual worker using circular saw while cutting piece of wood at construction site. His colleagues are in the background.
Building site. (file image) Source: istock.com


Historic sex abuse victim calls for sacking at prestigous St Bede's college in Christchurch

A sex abuse victim is calling for a prestigious Catholic school to sack its rector for not removing a teacher who sexually assaulted him years ago.

Peter Boock has complained to the board of trustees at St Bede's College in Christchurch, and to the Education Council, about the rector Justin Boyle.

Mr Boyle initiated an investigation of the teacher Robin Pettit in 2011, when Mr Boock first made a complaint.

Mr Pettit has admitted sexually assaulting Mr Boock in Dunedin in the late 1960s, when he was about 19 - and before Mr Pettit was a teacher - and the former a young teen.

Mr Pettit continued teaching at St Bede's after the complaint and investigation.

"I'm asking for the board of trustees to remove Justin Boyle," Mr Boock told RNZ.

"He, in 2011, carried on with a self-confessed child abuser in a senior teaching role, and enabled him to keep teaching the children. That's untenable."

St Bede's College, Christchurch. (Phil Pennington) Source: rnz.co.nz

The school board rejected that.

"St Bede's College categorically denies any claims that it failed to properly investigate a complaint about one of its teachers in 2011, which relate to events that took place between two people in the 1960s," board of trustees Chair Warren Johnstone said in a statement to RNZ

RNZ has heard the taped call in which Otago Daily Times reporter Chris Morris asked Robin Pettit for his response to Mr Boock's claim that he was abused by Mr Pettit as a young man in Otago.

The reporter asked Mr Pettit if he "attacked" Peter Boock when he was about 14 years old.

"Yep, yep, yep, yep, I did, yes, as you say, yes," Mr Pettit said on the tape. "I did.

"I did have a bad period there for a short time ... deeply regretful about that but ... I was quite glad when he actually approached me about it there back in 2011."

Mr Pettit told the Otago Daily Times' Chris Morris he had been informed by St Bede's that the reporter was looking into this. Asked if Peter Boock was "the only one", he said yes.

"As I said to Peter [Boock] and to Justin [Boyle], there's no excuse, but it was not a good period of my growing up life at all."

RNZ approached Mr Pettit this week. He said the Otago Daily Times story was "wrong" but would not say in what way, and then refused to comment further, saying the matter was with St Bede's lawyers.

Mr Pettit retired from St Bede's in 2015. In December 2016 he accompanied students to the New Zealand Secondary School National Athletics Champs.

The rector Justin Boyle refused come out of his office to talk to an RNZ reporter who visited St Bede's.

Mr Boock said over a course of nine months, in 1967-68, Mr Pettit assaulted him repeatedly, trying to masturbate him.

"I'm afraid there's no letting anyone off for sexual abuse ... it's never been anything else but a shocking crime against children," Mr Boock told RNZ.

"The fact that it's years later, and whether he's repeated or not repeated, is not the case for me. He ruined my young youth as I grew up and that's lived with me for 44 years. That's very hard to say it's OK, cos I won't and it's not."

Mr Boock, 64, is a trained social worker whose brother Stephen Boock played cricket for New Zealand.

He said Mr Boyle told him in 2011 that Mr Pettit had admitted the assaults when confronted with an affidavit from Mr Boock in 2011.

He had approached the rector after learning out of the blue that Mr Pettit was a teacher, working at St Bede's. At the time he was not well, and did not want the stress of the police and courts, he said.

Mr Boock admitted that in 2011 he had thanked the school for its investigation and for covering all the bases. But this could in no way be taken as a sign the school had investigated properly, he said, as he was traumatised back then, and took some years to recover, including from alcoholism.

Mr Pettit should never have been a teacher, and at the least should have resigned in 2011 when the school did not move to dismiss him, Mr Boock said.

His only aim in going public was to protect children by pushing for better laws for mandatory reporting of abuse and independent investigations of complaints, he said.

His complaint will be considered by the board on Monday next week.

The college was "deeply concerned about lack of due process in regards to the claims being made via the media", the board chair Warren Johnstone said.

"The College has and will always ensure that any complaint of misconduct is properly investigated and addressed, while respecting people's right to privacy and proper process."

The Network of Survivors of Abuse in Faith-based Institutions backed the call for Justin Boyle to step down.

Mr Boock said he would not have had to go public in this way if he felt confident the upcoming Royal Commission into historical abuse would have allowed him to raise the case, and have the school's response investigated.

By Phil Pennington

rnz.co.nz

Peter Boock has complained to the board of trustees at St Bede's College and the Education Council. (Phil Pennington) Source: rnz.co.nz

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Ban 1080 activist denies killing native birds scattered across Parliament's steps by children - 'an act of theatre'

A Ban 1080 activist has denied killing any of the native birds that were scattered across Parliament's steps by children in a protest over the use of the pesticide.

Parliament's Speaker Trevor Mallard yesterday revealed five native birds were among those placed on the precinct - including two kererū which appear to have been bludgeoned to death.

He's laid a complaint with the police and the Department of Conservation (DOC). It is illegal to kill or possess native wildlife.

Department of Conservation staff say in the past month they've had their car tyres slashed and wheel nuts loosened. Source: 1 NEWS

One of the protest's leaders Alan Gurden told RNZ none of the creatures had been harmed by the protesters.

"They were dead creatures.... we're not the sort of people to go round killing birds to make a point."

The quail and weka were roadkill, but the other birds and mice had been collected from a 1080 drop-zone, he said.

"These animals were all killed from various methods but it certainly was not at the hand of us.... It was an act of theatre designed to show New Zealand what we put up with on the frontline."

He said the carcasses had been given to one of his friends to store after they were collected from drop-zones or from the roadside.

"I'm not going to divulge my source, but someone else brought those to the scene. They were laid on the steps by the children," Mr Gurden said.

"So technically I have never owned, or had in my possession, any native birds."

Mr Gurden refused to name his friend who stored the birds, but said there was "no way" he would have killed them.

"I've known him for quite a while. He's on the same cause as me and he has the same kaupapa as me," he said.

"There's no way he'd go out and kill birds to prove a point."

Mr Gurden said he had not been contacted by the police or DOC. In a statement, police said inquiries were ongoing.

Anti-1080 activists wielding placards and loudspeakers marched to Parliament over the weekend demanding an end to the use of the poison.

A vast array of conservation and farming organisations support the use of 1080, describing it is an effective pest control tool.

They include DOC, the Environmental Protection Agency, the independent Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, and lobby groups like Federated Farmers and Forest and Bird.

- By Craig McCulloch

rnz.co.nz

Marama Davidson said New Zealand needs "community-led conversations" about the use of 1080. Source: 1 NEWS


Terminally ill patients at Timaru hospice unable to sleep because of local racers

A terminally ill man in care in Timaru has taken aim at the racing motorists he says are disturbing the peace for those at the hospice.

Charles Roebuck went into Hospice South Canterbury for palliative care after throat cancer left him unable to eat and drink, the Timaru Herald reports.

He told the newspaper the noise from racing motorists meant he was unable to sleep as well.

"The hospice patients are constantly being disturbed, mainly at night, but during the day as well, with motor vehicles racing past the facility, high speeds, high-noise burnouts up and down the hill, and using this stretch of road as a race track," he said.

Mr Roebuck has sent a letter to Timaru Mayor and local area police commander Dave Gaskin calling for action and suggesting a 10km/h or 20km/h speed limit for the area.

Hospice South Canterbury general manager Peter O'Neill was aware of Mr Roebuck’s complaint and said a similar issue had been raised in the past.

Inspector Gaskin said there hadn’t been an increase in complaints about racers near the hospice.

"I understand the issues raised by Mr Roebuck and we will continue our high-profile patrolling of this and all other areas of risk in the district,” he said.

South Canterbury Hospice. Source: South Canterbury Hospice