Watch: 'An iconic person' – Jacinda Ardern pays tribute to late Ngapuhi elder Kingi Taurua

Ngapuhi elder Kingi Taurua was remembered as "an iconic person" by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern who said she knew him from her time attending Waitangi.

Mr Taurua died aged 80 after a cancer battle, and Ms Ardern was asked about his impact on New Zealand society during a media address from Taranaki today.

"I know Kingi, as all politicians who have ever attended Waitangi would, he was a Ngapuhi elder who challenged the Crown when we needed to be challenged so I think we have seen a great loss," she said.

Mr Harawira shared his thoughts about Kingi Taurua who has died, aged 80. Source: Breakfast

Earlier today, former MP Hone Harawira, said his death is a "great loss to the whole of Maoridom".

"A very special guy, a Vietnam vet, he was one of the first Maori of celebrity to take the full face moko, he was an amazing orator, he was a great speaker, particularly of the Ngapuhi reo," Mr Harawira told TVNZ1’s Breakfast today.

Mr Taurua would also leave a hole on Waatea Radio, according to Mr Harawira.

"I tell you he's going to leave a massive hole in Ngapuhi, he's going to leave a massive hole for Watea and their ability to protect the passionate kind of news," he said.

"I'm going to miss him and I think a lot of us are going to."

The Prime Minister says Kingi Taurua challenged the Crown when it needed challenging. Source: 1 NEWS

NZ visas for Chinese bank's clients fast-tracked

More than half of some Bank of China clients who applied for a tourist visa had it approved within one business day in the past two years, after an agreement to fast-track them.

Immigration New Zealand introduced a streamlined visa process for the banks' Private Banking or Prestigious Wealth Management clients who applied for New Zealand tourist visas over the past two years.

It has since also signed a similar deal with China UnionPay for its Platinum or Diamond credit card holders.

The Bank of China said the streamlined applications had cut visa processing times by at least half, from 15 days to fewer than five days, and in the past year, more than half of its clients that had applied for tourist visas, had them approved within one business day.

Its associate New Zealand director Pengbo Jiang said it had boosted their clients' experiences of overseas study, travelling and investing in New Zealand.

"It has also enhanced the Bank of China Private Banking and Prestigious Wealth Management brand value, and helped us further implement the Bank of China global wealth management overseas development strategy."

Under the agreement, those travellers no longer needed to provide evidence of onward travel from New Zealand or their financial employment status.

Immigration New Zealand's tourism sector relationship manager Andrew Johns said Chinese tourist numbers had increased significantly in recent years and that growth was forecast to continue.

"We look forward to our continued collaboration with Bank of China, which will not only help to attract higher calibre visitors but more importantly, will continue to promote New Zealand as a preferred destination to the world," he said.

Next year is the China-NZ Year of Tourism, and Immigration New Zealand hopes to bring more potential Chinese tourists to the country through a simpler visa application process and is working with airlines to open more direct flights.

The Bank of China partnered with Local Government New Zealand on the NZ-China Mayoral Forum in December, with a key focus on trade and investment opportunities in tourism.

Generic passport Source: Breakfast


Ferrets kill eight kiwi over eight weeks in Tongariro Forest

Eight kiwi have been killed in an eight week period in Tongariro Forest due to ferrets.

The Department of Conservation has launched a trapping response programme to contain the outbreak of the pests who disperse to the forest from farmland at this time of year.

Live cage traps have been set up at kiwi kill sites to target the ferret returning to feed on the carcass, and also traps around surviving kiwi have been laid.

A spokesperson for DOC told 1 NEWS they caught one large male ferret last week and suspect he was responsible for the majority of the native bird deaths.

"Ferrets can get a taste for kiwi, and become like rogue dogs - killing a kiwi each week," the spokesperson told 1NEWS.

DOC says ferrets have become one of the biggest threats to kiwi populations, as they are one of the only predators, along with dogs, that are big enough to kill adult kiwi.

From August 2016 to August 2017 ferrets were thought to have killed seven kiwi in the Tongariro Forest.

The kiwi population of Tongariro Forest is thought to be 180-200 adult kiwis with 45 being radio tagged.

DOC says they have had occasional ferret predation events every few years but are worried "they are now increasing greatly in frequency"

Kiwi (file picture).
Kiwi (file picture). Source: 1 NEWS