Watch: 3D graphic shows how kauri dieback could spread through mighty Tāne Mahuta, as scientists make breakthrough

Scientists hope seedlings taken from trees around Northland and Tauranga could be naturally resistant to kauri dieback disease and help save New Zealand's precious natives.

Kauri dieback is threatening the country's most famous tree, the majestic Tāne Mahuta in Waipoua Forest, Northland.

1 NEWS has created a 3D graphic of the planet's largest living kauri - 51.2 metres tall and estimated to be between 1250 to 2500 years old.

Landcare Research plant pathologist Stanley Bellgard told 1 NEWS scientists have deliberately infected seedlings in a glasshouse, "and we're trying to see which ones are not going to die". 

A pathogen that attaches to kauri roots and starves them from below is killing our forests at speed, but researchers say the response is picking up too.

Infected kauri don't immediately show symptoms and it used to take up to a month to test if the disease is present in the soil.  

But scientists have made a breakthrough.

Pine needles are floated over a flooded soil sample and if the pathogen is present, it swims to the needles. 

The needles are ground up, their DNA is extracted and put in a machine which in 20 minutes shows which are positive for the pathogen.

Knowing where the infections are helps researchers understand how it behaves and where it might go next.

No lab is needed, meaning it can be deployed remotely and in large numbers.

Richard Winkworth from the bio-protection research centre based at Massey University says the the long-term goal is to make it possible for a  Department of Conservation ranger or a landowner to be able to go out, test a soil sample and make management decisions immediately.

The mission is more critical than ever as the disease has been found near sacred Tāne Mahuta. 

And kauri are not the only species under threat.  

"Kauri is the keystone species, but there are many species that rely on that environment. If kauri goes, that's an entire ecosystem gone," Mr Winkworth said. 

It's a bleak thought, but our leading researchers are on it. And they say we haven't lost our forest giants just yet.  

New Zealand’s biggest tree, in Northland’s Waipoua Forest, is under threat from the disease. Source: 1 NEWS



Refugee quota increase a proud moment, Red Cross says, but now it's time to prepare

Jacinda Ardern's announcement yesterday that we will increase our yearly refugee intake to 1500 by 2020 was a proud moment for New Zealand, says Red Cross official Rachel O'Conner.

But there are some things we will have to do as a nation to prepare for the increase, which will result in New Zealand having doubled its intake in less than five years, she told TVNZ1's Breakfast this morning.

"We'll need people to respond, we're going to need people to volunteer, to donate items," she said. "But a lot of it is about...having welcoming communities."

Resettlement, she explained, is difficult - away from family and friends, without work and often having to learn a new language.

"Kiwis have this value of showing care and compassion, and that is what helps build that sense of belonging," said Ms O'Conner, who serves as national migration programmes manager for the humanitarian organisation.

That's 500 extra people who'll be making New Zealand home annually. Source: 1 NEWS

Under the Prime Minister's plan, six new resettlement communities will be established so that existing ones in New Zealand aren't over-burdened. The towns, however, haven't yet been chosen.

"We're going to be looking for councils and community groups to put up their hands and say, 'Yup, we want to be one of the new six'," Ms O'Conner said.

Ms O'Conner described yesterday's announcement as "a great start". But with 1.4 million people in desperate need of resettlement, "we're seeing unprecedented needs globally at the moment", she added, explaining that the Government also needs to take another good look at foreign aid and peace building activities.

Even after yesterday's announcement, New Zealand is far from being a leader in terms of refugee intake numbers.

PM Jacinda Ardern made the announcement today. Source: 1 NEWS

"But we are leaders in the terms of the quality of resettlement that we provide," she said, telling the story of a mum who had carried her disabled teen son on her back for his entire life because they didn't have access to health care in their previous country.

After arriving in Auckland, the boy was given a wheelchair and it changed both of their lives, O'Conner said.

"She kept saying, 'I can't believe I don't have to carry him anymore'," she recalled.

Jacinda Ardern’s announcement yesterday means six new settlement locations will be in the works, Rachel O’Conner told Breakfast. Source: Breakfast

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'What’s up Muzza' - is it weird to call your parents by their first name?

What do you call your parents - mum and dad, or Geoff and Pam?

The idea some people call their parents by their first name was a hot topic on Breakfast this morning, with Hayley Holt saying it was a bit weird calling her parents by their given names.

‘I’d feel a bit odd, ‘hey Robin, what’s up Muzza?’”

Many viewers said calling parents by their given names was disrespectful, with one viewer saying she had earned the title of mum.

Another said when children were older, it could be a discussion families could have together.

Newsreader Scotty Morrison said in Te Reo Māori there were “beautiful terms” for older members of the whanāu.

“As our people get older they get more and more respect because of the life they have had, the life experience, the knowledge that they’ve gained," he said. 

“It’s important in Māori culture to have that respect for the older generation.”

Some Breakfast viewers thought it was disrespectful not to be called mum or dad. Source: Breakfast


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Police on the hunt after man seriously hurt in Hamilton shooting

A man has sustained serious injuries after being shot in Hamilton last night

Police responded to Derby Street, Nawton at 10:25pm after receiving reports of a shooting.

An investigation is underway to establish exactly what has occurred and inquiries are being made to find the offenders, who left the scene in a car.

The man is in a stable condition in a high dependency unit at Waikato Hospital.  

A scene examination on Derby Street will continue this morning.

Police car generic.
Police car generic. Source: 1 NEWS

Police are keen to talk to anyone who was in the area last night and may have information of interest to the investigation.

The incident took place in Nawton at 10.25pm yesterday – the offender fled the scene by car. Source: Breakfast


Record number of happy punters as two win Powerball, 40 win Lotto first division

There were a lot more ecstatic Kiwi punters than usual last night, with two lucky Powerball players winning $2.5 million each and a record 40 players winning Lotto First Division.

Never before in the Lotto's 31-year history have that many winners been announced in a single draw. The 38 first division winners (without Powerball) will take home $25,000 each.

The winning Powerball tickets were sold at a Countdown supermarket in Hastings and at New Brighton Lotto & Discounter in Christchurch.

It follows a winning $7.2 million Powerball draw just a week earlier, sold from a Pak'n Save in Silverdale. As of yet, however, no one has come forward to claim it.

Some winners might be slightly disappointed by their haul from last night’s draw, while two others claimed over $2.5 million. Source: Breakfast