One person dead, three injured after two car crash in Hamilton

One person is dead with at least three others injured after a two-vehicle crash in Hamilton.

Police say the crash occurred at the intersection of Gordonton Road and Thomas Road in Puketaha about 7.20pm.

One person died at the scene.

Initial reports suggest three other people may also have been injured.

The crash occurred at the intersection of Gordonton Road and Thomas Road in Puketaha about 7.20pm. Source: 1 NEWS



Woman to spend 10 years in psychiatric hospital after stabbing, setting fire to sister

A woman who was charged with stabbing her sister and burning her body in the backyard is likely to spend more than 10 years in a secure psychiatric hospital.

Boushra Rahman appeared at the High Court in Auckland today by audio-visual link from the Mason Clinic.

Ms Rahman has been a special patient since being charged with the murder of her sister in 2008.

She is deaf and suffers from an intellectual disability, psychotic illness and borderline personality disorder.

In 2010, she was found unfit to stand trial.

But in 2015, the Attorney-General directed she be put before the court after getting reports from a psychiatrist and psychologist who found her fit.

There were provisos though - Ms Rahman would need help to understand what was being said in court.

Later that year, court appearances to assess Ms Rahman's fitness had to be delayed after she was hospitalised for harming herself.

In 2016, there was a depositions hearing in the district court. Judge Tremewan found Ms Rahman fit to stand trial.

The case was sent to the High Court where a trial date was set for September last year.

But the trial did not go ahead.

Two of the three mental health assessors found she was still unfit.

Ian Goodwin was one of those. He found Ms Rahman had only a basic ability to plead and would be unable to follow the process.

Justice Woolford agreed. He concluded she wouldn't be able to follow the court process.

Today, the judge ordered Ms Rahman be made a special patient. He said that was for the protection of the community and so she could receive rehabilitation.

The order was for 10 years but Justice Woolford said it was likely to be longer in order to address the severity of her issues.

Ms Rahman told police she killed her sister after a fight

Police officers who were first on the scene gave evidence at the depositions hearing two years ago.

They arrived at Ms Rahman's west Auckland home to find her sister's charred body in the boot of a car parked in the garage.

Constable Sharon Hearn told the court back Ms Rahman had said she had a fight with her sister who cut her thumb and threatened to kill her.

Ms Rahman told her she had killed her sister and put her body in the boot of the car.

She told another officer back at the police station that she had given her sister medication before stabbing her and setting her body on fire.

Source: istock.com

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Gisborne going bananas over new taxpayer-funded horticulture venture - 'Grow like topsy'

Poke around Gisborne backyards and you’ll see bunch after bunch of bananas growing like weeds.

Local enthusiast Trevor Mills says if you go out to Wainui Beach, "every second house has a banana plant growing in their backyard".

"With the climate change we've had in the last few years, middle of July, 2am in the morning and it's 16 degrees, well, bananas love that sort of treatment," Mr Mills said.

Gisborne locals have been growing bananas for decades, but now local company Tai Pukenga wants to see the business grow beyond the region.

Bananas are already grown successfully in Northland but they don't make it out of the region due to their popularity on the local market.

The plan in Gisborne would be to grow enough to be commercially viable and sell them nationwide.

Nearly $100,000 of taxpayers' funding has been granted by the Ministry of Business, Employment and Innovation to Tai Pukenga and AgResearch to make it happen.

AgResearch scientist Dr Jane Mullaney says they’ll need to grow a lot more trees for it to be a success.

Dr Mullaney and her team have been touring the region, picking the brains of locals and collecting samples for testing.

"From there, [you] make a tissue culture that is basically amplifying these plants and give them the opportunity to grow much more and a lot faster."

Mr Mills says the plants, once in the ground, "grow like topsy".

"If you plant 50 plants, you will get 150 to 200 plants from that initial 50," he said.

Statistics NZ data shows New Zealand imports more than 87 million kilos of bananas annually, with the average Kiwi household spending $88 dollars on the fruit per year - over $20 more than its closest competitor, apples, at $61 a year.

Dr Mullaney says with modern day standards and greater awareness of where food comes from, there should be a market for bananas from Gisborne.

"It's not enough to go to a supermarket and say 'there is an apple, there is a banana', so I think we are learning to tell that story about where that food has come from and it is just as important as the food that we are eating," Dr Mullaney said.

If Tai Pukenga's plan comes to fruition, bananas from Gisborne could hit supermarket shelves in two years' time.

All going to plan, bananas from the region could hit shelves in two years’ time. Source: 1 NEWS