Watch: 'I just started crying' – Family devastated after disgusting Hawke's Bay cemetery attack leaves headstones smashed

Families and friends have been left grieving after a northern Hawke's Bay cemetery was vandalised - and the damages may take years to repair.

Around one fifth of the headstones at a family urupa in Raupunga have been destroyed by a sledgehammer.

The heartbroken loved ones and the local community are now working to clean up the cemetery and repair the destroyed headstones.

Kaye Wesley told 1 NEWS she was "just absolutely devastated" after she stopped by the cemetery at 9am yesterday while travelling to Wairoa for a cousin's tangi.

"Your wairua [spirit] is just gone. It’s like we’ve got to bury them again.

"I can't understand the mental state of a person [who’d do it] , urupa are tapu," Ms Wesley said.

Kaye Wesley said her brother's grave was one of the 16 smashed, but every second burial site had some form of damage such as broken flower vases.

"By the time I got to his grave I was a mess. I just started crying."

The decision was made to make the video public – after only being posted on a family Facebook page – because of large numbers of relations living in Australia.

Her own extended Waihape whanau had decided to get a quote to fix all of the headstones together.

"We can’t fix ours and not anyone else's."

She said the whanau had been overwhelmed with support, including a group setting up a Give a Little page to help pay for the damage.

There are plans to set up a Givealittle page to raise the funds to replace the headstones.

Terminally ill patients at Timaru hospice unable to sleep because of local racers

A terminally ill man in care in Timaru has taken aim at the racing motorists he says are disturbing the peace for those at the hospice.

Charles Roebuck went into Hospice South Canterbury for palliative care after throat cancer left him unable to eat and drink, the Timaru Herald reports.

He told the newspaper the noise from racing motorists meant he was unable to sleep as well.

"The hospice patients are constantly being disturbed, mainly at night, but during the day as well, with motor vehicles racing past the facility, high speeds, high-noise burnouts up and down the hill, and using this stretch of road as a race track," he said.

Mr Roebuck has sent a letter to Timaru Mayor and local area police commander Dave Gaskin calling for action and suggesting a 10km/h or 20km/h speed limit for the area.

Hospice South Canterbury general manager Peter O'Neill was aware of Mr Roebuck’s complaint and said a similar issue had been raised in the past.

Inspector Gaskin said there hadn’t been an increase in complaints about racers near the hospice.

"I understand the issues raised by Mr Roebuck and we will continue our high-profile patrolling of this and all other areas of risk in the district,” he said.

South Canterbury Hospice. Source: South Canterbury Hospice

Ban 1080 activist denies killing native birds scattered across Parliament's steps by children - 'an act of theatre'

A Ban 1080 activist has denied killing any of the native birds that were scattered across Parliament's steps by children in a protest over the use of the pesticide.

Parliament's Speaker Trevor Mallard yesterday revealed five native birds were among those placed on the precinct - including two kererū which appear to have been bludgeoned to death.

He's laid a complaint with the police and the Department of Conservation (DOC). It is illegal to kill or possess native wildlife.

Department of Conservation staff say in the past month they've had their car tyres slashed and wheel nuts loosened. Source: 1 NEWS

One of the protest's leaders Alan Gurden told RNZ none of the creatures had been harmed by the protesters.

"They were dead creatures.... we're not the sort of people to go round killing birds to make a point."

The quail and weka were roadkill, but the other birds and mice had been collected from a 1080 drop-zone, he said.

"These animals were all killed from various methods but it certainly was not at the hand of us.... It was an act of theatre designed to show New Zealand what we put up with on the frontline."

He said the carcasses had been given to one of his friends to store after they were collected from drop-zones or from the roadside.

"I'm not going to divulge my source, but someone else brought those to the scene. They were laid on the steps by the children," Mr Gurden said.

"So technically I have never owned, or had in my possession, any native birds."

Mr Gurden refused to name his friend who stored the birds, but said there was "no way" he would have killed them.

"I've known him for quite a while. He's on the same cause as me and he has the same kaupapa as me," he said.

"There's no way he'd go out and kill birds to prove a point."

Mr Gurden said he had not been contacted by the police or DOC. In a statement, police said inquiries were ongoing.

Anti-1080 activists wielding placards and loudspeakers marched to Parliament over the weekend demanding an end to the use of the poison.

A vast array of conservation and farming organisations support the use of 1080, describing it is an effective pest control tool.

They include DOC, the Environmental Protection Agency, the independent Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, and lobby groups like Federated Farmers and Forest and Bird.

- By Craig McCulloch

Marama Davidson said New Zealand needs "community-led conversations" about the use of 1080. Source: 1 NEWS


Hundreds of government staff stop work for waiata to mark Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori

Hundreds of government staff stopped work yesterday, not for a strike but a song.

For a few minutes, everyone at the Ministry for Business Innovation and Employment's Wellington HQ was singing from the same song sheet.

It was a high point of the Ministry's Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori events, which included online teaching modules and helping people learn their mihi.

Staff lined the balconies to sing the waiata Tūtira Mai Ngā Iwi - a song about coming together.

Hinemaua Rikirangi from the Ministry's Māori economic development team said, "the key thing is actually about encouraging people to make the effort".

"Those are some of the key steps that we hope to nurture and grow," she said.

“Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori was about celebrating the reo's taonga, or treasure, which is unique to Aotearoa.”

The enthusiasm rubbed off on some staff.

Deirdre Millar who came to Aotearoa from Ireland 12 years ago said, "it made me proud to see people embracing the indigenous language".

"Too many things get lost when a language is lost: your identity, your culture, everything," she said.

The ministry's longer term goal is to build awareness of the Māori culture and language to ensure the minority isn't forgotten in policy.

Raniera Albert, who led the waiata, said he hoped that in 10 years' time "Māori are at the forefront of policy decisions".

"Where we are not the afterthought of the afterthought, where New Zealand's policies work for, but for Pasifika as well."

Everyone at the Ministry for Business Innovation and Employment's Wellington HQ was singing from the same song sheet as part of the ministry's Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori events. Source: 1 NEWS

From remand home to rap – young Dunedin men using rap to turn their lives around

Two young Dunedin men are using rap music to turn their lives around.

Cleveland and Hoepo had a troubled start to life and recently spent time in a remand home.

However, with the help of social worker Nan, the pair changed their mindset and are determined to rap themselves to a better future.

Seven Sharp has their inspiring story in the video above.

After a troubled start to life, Cleveland and Hoepo have changed their mindset around and are determined to rap themselves to a better future. Source: Seven Sharp