Oxfam still waiting to hear from Fiji's Lau islands as Gita moves west

Oxfam says it is waiting for radio contact from Fiji's Ono-i-Vau and Vatoa islands after Cyclone Gita knocked out communications yesterday in order to determine what assistance is needed, if any.

Gita largely missed Fiji, tracking to the west instead, but some assistance may still be required, Oxfam's Jane Foster said.

"At this stage we're waiting for feedback from the local government authorities who had issued the evacuation orders," Ms Foster told TVNZ1's Breakfast.

Joanna Bourke boarded up her house and endured the storm by herself. Source: Seven Sharp

"The population of those southern islands would have taken shelter."

Ms Foster said lessons had been learned in the islands from the destructive Cyclone Winston in 2016, which killed dozens of people, and more people had heeded official warnings this time around

"Many thousands of people actually used the evacuation centres," she said.

Many residents in the Pacific nation documented the extreme weather event. Source: 1 NEWS

Meanwhile, people in Tonga are assessing damage and beginning to clean up after Gita hit there overnight Monday.

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


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Dame Jenny Shipley, Sir Richard Hadlee promote Heart Foundation appeal as numbers with heart disease jump

Former prime minister Dame Jenny Shipley and cricket great Sir Richard Hadlee are among Kiwis featuring in a campaign to help the Heart Foundation fund more life-saving research into heart disease.

Seven Sharp reported the number of people living with heart disease in New Zealand has gone up from 172,000 to 186,000 in just one year.

And surprisingly, it's an increase across nearly all age groups.

So an advertisement has been made to get support for the Heart Foundation's appeal.

It's a cause that's close to the hearts of the people taking part in the ad.

Dame Jenny told the programme she's just 66.

"I must have been 48 when I had my heart attack. So it was just not long after I'd finished being prime minister," she said.

"For weeks I had been going to the doctor and was told I had tennis elbow.

"The Heart Foundation walks with you after you've had an event, but the Heart Foundation raises funds to invest in people," Dame Jenny said.

Sir Richard, 67, said the foundation uses funds "to train cardiologists and gain information, and to save lives basically". 

Radio host Sela Alo, 45, also took part in the ad.

"I'm glad that I'm here to show that it's not an old man, old woman disease, that anyone can get it," he said.

Also among those involved in the ad campaign are Celeste Esera and her six-year-old daughter Ava who are both affected by heart disease.

The Heart Foundation has decided to tackle the problem with an ad campaign. Source: Seven Sharp

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Te Papa celebrates its 20th birthday today

Te Papa marks its twentieth birthday today with a special evening concert and activities including special free tours and film screenings. 

After a dawn ceremony, at midday on February 14, 1998, yachtsman Sir Peter Blake led two children through the doors of Te Papa Tongarewa The Museum of New Zealand, "our place", on Wellington's waterfront. 

The concept for Te Papa was that it would be a bicultural museum, and incorporate both the national museum and national art collection. 

Kaihautū (Māori Co-leader) of Te Papa Arapata Hakiwai speaks to Breakfast. Source: Breakfast

As the biggest ever investment in New Zealand culture and heritage, and one of that decade's biggest museum projects globally, Te Papa was the subject of major scrutiny. 

From the 35,000 visitors who saw Te Papa on its opening day, to the more than two million who visited in its first year, Te Papa was embraced by New Zealanders. 

Controversies raged - including protests about the Tania Kovats “Virgin in a condom” artwork - but the public continued to visit Te Papa in their thousands. 

By today, Te Papa will have had almost 30 million visitors, discovered more than 400 new species, hosted more than 3,000 pōwhiri, and rocked visitors with more than 1.3 million shakes of its famous earthquake house.

Chief executive Geraint Martin says major changes are ahead for Te Papa in the coming years.

Next month a new art gallery, Toi Art, will open in Te Papa, the biggest change to the museum since opening, he says.

The $8.4 million space offers a large newly-created gallery able to hold works that have never been shown at Te Papa before, and the opening on March 17 will reveal major commissions by contemporary New Zealand artists. 

After Easter 2018 Te Papa will begin work on a new nature and environment section which will open in 2019, Martin says. 

Today the museum will be open until 9pm for its birthday activities.

Crowds at the opening of Te Papa on February 14, 1998. Source: Te Papa