Watch: 'For f*** sake run' - Couple who had holiday from hell in Mexico have warning for Kiwis

A Cambridge couple say they feared for their lives as a visit to a medical centre in Mexico ended in intimidation, armed police, a frantic chase and a narrow escape.

In Los Angeles to celebrate 25 years of marriage, Peter and Belinda Varcoe decided to pop to Mexico for a few days.

On the second day Belinda started to feel unwell and a doctor came to the hotel and diagnosed a chest infection, nasal infection and possible mild pneumonia.

They rang their travel insurance company, Southern Cross, and went to the medical centre, where, Mr Varcoe said, a woman asked for his credit card to take deposit, but he refused to hand it over.

The medical centre first gave them an estimate of $US5,100 then a bill of $US9,700, and once back at the hotel, the manager demanded cash payment for the hospital bill.

Now scared, the couple again rang their insurance company who arranged a 2am check-in at the American-owned Hyatt down the road, but a man behind the desk refused to let them leave and began to close the doors.

"I said to Pete, run, for f*** sake run. I took off, he took off after me, and three of them pursued us," Ms Varcoe said.

"We were in fear for our lives."

Safely at their new hotel, the next goal was to get out of Mexico, but at the airport armed police took their passports, saying the hadn't paid their bill and when the couple turned around, the hospital doctors were standing there.

The Varcoes called the embassy and the insurance company once more, and after assurances of money to come, their passports were returned and the relieved couple were able to fly out of Mexico. 

It started as a dream trip for the couple to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary. Source: Seven Sharp

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One person dead after fatal collision between car and bus near Queenstown

One person has died after a crash between a car and a bus near Queenstown this morning.

Police report the fatal accident happened on State Highway 6 near Devils Staircase, south of Queenstown this morning.

Police confirmed the person who died was in the car but there were no other injuries despite 15 people, including the driver, being on the bus.

A Police spokesperson has told 1 NEWS the person who died in the crash was the sole occupant of the car.

A statement from the bus company involved in the incident, Southern Discoveries, said they would work closely with Police.

"The driver of our bus as well as all 14 passengers on board are uninjured.

"We are currently taking all of the passengers back to their accommodation in Queenstown and providing them, as well as our staff, with any support they may require."

The bus was carrying a group of tourists. Police don’t have any details as to where they were headed at this stage.

Emergency services were alerted of the crash at 7:45am.

The Serious Crash Unit will be investigating and the road will be closed for some time.

One person died after an accident near Devils Staircase. Source: 1 NEWS

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Lotto winner gets $11 million - Second time Powerball struck in less than a month

$11 million is not a bad pay check and on Saturday night a lucky Auckland Powerball player got just that.

The winning ticket was sold at New World Albany in Auckland. The prize money was made up of $10 million from Powerball First Division and $1 million from Lotto First Division.

This is the second time that Powerball has been struck in less than a month, with two lucky players from Hastings and Christchurch sharing a $5 million Powerball jackpot in mid-September.

Meanwhile, in the Bullseye Must Be Won Draw, the $400,000 jackpot rolled down to Division Two and was shared by two players who each take home $210,001.

The winning tickets were sold at Halswell New World in Christchurch and Westport New World in Westport.

The winning $7.2 million Lotto Powerball ticket. Source: Supplied

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West Auckland church using movie theatre for services

While the big screen is usually reserved for tales from Hollywood, one West Auckland church is using their newfound home at the cinemas to also retell stories from the Bible.

Members of the City Impact Church West branch now regularly attend their Sunday morning and afternoon services at a local theatre in West Auckland.

Families come in to the Westgate Event Cinemas, in Massey, treating themselves to movie snacks such as popcorn and ice-creams while listening to the pastors speak.

Pastor Joe Manase told the New Zealand Herald the unconventional idea makes sense.

"We’d heard that there are churches around the world that started to use cinemas and we thought: You know what? They’ll have comfy seats, the best air conditioning, the greatest screen and the best surround-sound system.

"There are people lining up to come to church and people lining up to buy tickets to Avengers at the same time."

City Impact use two rooms, one for main church and one specifically for children’s worship but there are also moves to hire out a third theatre by next year for their youth group.

Kirsty Bourke of the Hawera Cinema says restaurants and clubs have had dress codes for years and no one complained.
Source: 1 NEWS


North Canterbury thermal pools masters art of turning methane gas from thermal water into electricity

Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools have achieved a New Zealand first - by converting waste product into power.

After years of trial and error, the North Canterbury pools have now mastered turning methane gas from the thermal water into electricity.

Hamner Springs operations manager Neil Wilson said, "It is a waste and we were continually getting asked what it was and why we were doing it and why we weren't using it".

The machine, operated by a cell phone app. is the result of 11 years of work and a $300,000 investment.

Mr Wilson said the contraption, which has a "turbine and capacitors and stuff that control the power", turns the methane from a deep thermal water bore that supplies the hot pools into electricity.

"It's pretty exciting, yeah - pretty special. Hopefully, some other people will follow suit," he said.

The generator stops 100,000 cubic metres of methane or greenhouse gas form being pumped into the atmosphere, which accounts for 15 per cent of the thermal pools's electricity use.

Worth around $35,000, the electricity is the equivalent of how much 43 average Kiwi homes would use.

"[It's] really cool that we're a tiny authority. We're a tiny operation on a world scale but to be leading this technology is really special."

The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA), which helped the pools secure the world's smallest petroleum mining permit for the project, believes the innovation could be applied elsewhere.

The ECCA's Eddie Christian said it could be used "in the agriculture sector, for example, on large scale dairy or other large methane users".

Mr Wilson said they’re happy to share their discovery, saying, "Anyone’s more than welcome to come and have a look at what we've done here".

Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools have achieved a New Zealand first converting waste product into power. Source: 1 NEWS