'We didn't know what we were doing!' - School mums on track to raise $250k with impressive cookbook

A group of mums just "doing their bit" are on track to raise $250,000 for a new school pool after encouraging every family at Tamahere School to provide a recipe for a stunning cook book.

Divine Eats has been so successful, its first run of 4000 copies flew out the door, and a new batch are on order.

Once they are gone, half the $500,000 needed for the Waikato school's new pool will have been raised. 

"We're a group of mums, there were 13 of us, we didn't know what we were doing and yeah, this is where we got to," said Angie Millar. 

They were inspired by the school's 1992 cookbook, and managed to get the whole school community involved in the project.

Even the caretaker Mr Wickens and his delicious custard square recipe features. 

The old pool is around 80 years old, and is too small, too shallow, and needs too much maintenance.

Replacing it is a huge job, and the mums have been taken aback by how well their idea has gone.

"Everyone was really amazing and really poured their hearts into it," Millar told Seven Sharp. 

Visit the Divine Eats website to order a copy.

Tamahere's cookbook features a recipe from every family at the school, that's right, every family. Source: Seven Sharp


The Great Kiwi Bake Off - Episode 1 Recap

By Bridget Jones

The jaunty music. The bunting. The soggy bottoms. The baking. Oh the baking!

Welcome to The Great Kiwi Bake Off, New Zealand. I hope you’ve eaten, because watching this on an empty stomach is the kind of torture that should only be reserved for those people you really, really do not like.

And look, there’s no point beating around the bush here. The British version of this glorious show is a modern broadcasting masterpiece. Nice telly with a deliciously sweet aftertaste, in the best way possible.

Forget politicians playing nice with their own parties and royal (baby shower) tours, this is not something we can risk screwing up, Aotearoa.

So, do Kiwi cooks have what it takes? Are our jokes just as naughty as the English greats? Apart from canned spaghetti and sausages, can anything edible really be cooked in a tent?

Guys, the answer is… yeah, I reckon.

But doing the real deciding is a duo you wouldn’t want to mess with in a dark alley armed only with a French Stick.

Meet the Dame of Desserts, Sue Fleischl, and Dean Brettschneider, the man who has baked his way around the world. She is the perfect combination of sass and serious expectations, while he plays her straight-man offsider who seems a little scared to be scary.

More importantly, we’re going to keep it simple and refer to them forever more as FleischlSchneider. 'Cos, it sounds so, uh, friendly.

To kick this whole crazy ride off, the Fleischl end of the hashtag tries to convince us cupcakes, which are the Signature Challenge, are "not terribly, technically difficult".

Sue has clearly never seen me in the kitchen.

And don’t even get me started on the children’s birthday cakes the bakers have to deliver for the Showstopper Bake. I am sweating at the very idea of ever having mini-me’s that demand I construct anything more than a supermarket sponge with a few 100’s and 1000’s.

Thankfully, these 12 bakers are exactly the kind of people you want – and expect – in the kitchen; salt-of-the-earth Kiwis (with a few quirky characters thrown in for good measure).

There’s Stacey, the stunning blue-haired, body-building, power-lifting tattoo artist, with the cake-themed outfits.

Jeff, who has eyes like the bluest ocean and a penchant for musical theatre (even if his wife calls his performance "rubbish" – hashtag SingItJeff.

Clayton’s bold approach to the first challenge is to get his "buttercream going, melting a bit of chocolate, decorate some stuff and have a beer – happy, happy". (So chilled out…show off!)

While Hottest Home Baker Joel bravely came out as a cupcake man to his rugby teammates – and then let out the Kiwiest of Kiwisms ("Aaaaaw Noooo-ah") when one of his little fellas ended up face-down on the floor.

Lovely Larissa and Adorable Annabel could be sisters. And Sonali’s relying on the luck of the Irish – and maybe getting the judges drunk on a booze-packed cupcake.

Hosts Hayley Sproull and Madeleine Sami seem to be big supporters of this tactical approach. And those two might need a wee drink.
After all, they have big shoes to fill, since, historically, Bake Off hosts are tasked with making sure TV’s nicest show doesn’t become sickly sweet.

Remember, there’s no cash prize, no car or profit to win. There’s no romance drama or singing and dancing. These people are just here to bake lovely food and, by proxy, are just lovely people.

If we didn’t have Hayley suggesting a bunny cake could maybe have real bunny in it, or Madeleine pointing out phallic decorations in the kitchen, there’s a very real concern the show would just have no bite.

And too much sweetness can be a bad thing. Just ask anyone who’s had to eat 12 birthday cakes.

There were show stopper highs and quite worrying lows. Cakes were dropped, and cakes were moist. There was dry ice and ear-less dinos and unicorns and mermaids.

In the end though, Angel Annabel was crowned the first ever New Zealand Star Baker with a buzzy bee cake that drew gasps, while Smiley Jennie, with her very wet cupcakes, and cute-but-a-little-cheaty, lolly-filled, marshmallow-coated Igloo cake, that was shown the door.

Was it a case of "I’m not mad, I’m just disappointed you sorta didn’t make any of this apart from the sponge" from FleischlSchneider? Maybe.

Should Ol’ Blue Eyes Jeff and his sloppy adult-only mess been shown the door instead? Perhaps.

But the bar has been well and truly set, the expectations shouted from the tent-top, and God help any baker who visits the supermarket on the way to the oven.

And more than anything, I hope Sue knows her probing "did you make the marshmallows?" will haunt my baking nightmares forever more.

Bridget Jones is a TVNZ publicist and former entertainment reporter.

Dean, Madeleine, Hayley and Sue from The Great Kiwi Bake Off.
Dean, Madeleine, Hayley and Sue from The Great Kiwi Bake Off. Source: TVNZ


It's 'a crisis' for National as Jami-Lee Ross launches 'the most extraordinary attack' on Simon Bridges, says Bryce Edwards

Political analyst Bryce Edwards says National MP Jami-Lee Ross' criticism of Simon Bridges has been the most extraordinary attack by an MP on their own party's leader he's seen in New Zealand politics.

Unleashing a barrage of serious allegations at a media stand-up today, Mr Ross said Mr Bridges ordered him to cover up a $100,000 donation from a Chinese businessman by splitting it up so it didn't have to be declared. 

Mr Ross even released photos to show the party leader and businessman together.  

Calling Mr Bridges a corrupt politician, the MP also claimed he's got a recorded conversation as evidence and is taking it to police tomorrow. 

What has happened may well be unprecedented. 

"It's been the most extraordinary attack on your own party's leader that I've seen in New Zealand politics," Dr Edwards told TVNZ1's Seven Sharp.

"This is real House of Cards stuff where you have lots of conniving and ambitious MPs that are backstabbing each other to get to the top. I think there's a mixture of knives being placed in the back and the front," he said.

The Botany MP has quit Parliament and accuses Simon Bridges of electoral fraud. Source: 1 NEWS

Before Mr Bridges announced the caucus had voted to expel Mr Ross, the MP announced he's resigning from Parliament, forcing a by-election in his Botany seat, which he'll contest as an independent.

Mr Ross' string of bombshells came a day after Mr Bridges, following an investigation, named Mr Ross as the leaker of his travel expenses.

"Jami-Lee Ross was operating in a deceptive way when he leaked this information, when he took on Simon Bridges," Dr Edwards said.

"It was later when he had nowhere else to turn, that he started to be more open about his descent against the National Party leader." 

But Dr Edwards said at the centre of all this, there's nothing.

"It's devoid of principles. There's no great ideological struggles. It really is the modern emptiness of politics." 

Jami-Lee Ross is now out of National but, as former National party whip, still very much in the know. 

Asked does Mr Ross have the power to bring down Simon Bridges, Dr Edwards said: "He's got a lot of dirt that he might be able to dish."

He said: "Jami-Lee Ross knows where all the bodies are buried. He knows what all the MPs have done wrong in the past. He knows lots of embarrassing details, not only about Simon Bridges but about other National Party insiders, other politicians."

1 NEWS’ Katie Bradford takes a look at Mr Ross’ chances of keeping his seat. Source: 1 NEWS

Dr Edwards said National will need to try and find a way to make Jami-Lee Ross "disappear".

"And by that I mean give him some sort of pay off or reward.

"This is why it's a crisis, because they might be able to get rid of Jami-Lee Ross, but he can throw a lot of dirt from outside the party," the political analyst said.

The Botany MP has been expelled from caucus, while he alleges Simon Bridges committed electoral fraud – which Mr Bridges denies. Source: Seven Sharp


Loud bangs heard at Christchurch house surrounded by armed police

Several loud bangs have been heard at a house surrounded by armed police in Christchurch tonight. 

About 20 police officers have been outside the house on Gilberthorpes Rd, Hei Hei, for several hours. 

A witness says he heard a couple of bangs - possibly stun grenades - go off in the house around 6pm and several more around 8pm.

He says officers have put gas marks on and "look like they're about to storm the house".

The witness says officers are now on the property and have been using a loudspeaker to warn whoever is inside the house that they're going to come in.

The police have said officers had a "pre-planned search warrant".

They would not comment on whether that search warrant was related to the fatal shooting of Luke Riddell at Charing Cross on Saturday. 

Police cordon on Gilberthorpes Rd, Christchurch.
Police cordon on Gilberthorpes Rd, Christchurch. Source: 1 NEWS

Wellington cycleway repair to cost $4 million more

A 1.7 kilometre cycleway in Wellington that cost about $1.8 million to build, has been estimated to cost $10 million to fix.

Wellington city councillors today asked council officers how much it would cost to change the Island Bay cycleway to appease residents.

The plan, considered by many as a compromise between residents and council, was signed off in September 2017.

It was put on hold while the council applied for $24 million of Government funding for a wider cycleway between Island Bay and the city, that would include the controversial stretch.

Councillor Nicola Young, who has consistently opposed the cycleway, asked officers at a meeting today how much it would cost to fix the 1.7km of cycleway that already existed, and was told it could be $4 million more than the $6 million put aside.

However, the council would not know for sure until the project had gone out to tender.

The estimated price tag was a very expensive fix for something that cost less that $2 million to build, councillor Andy Foster said.

"It's a very expensive remediation to spend more than four times as much as what was spent in the first place. In my books, you're not building the same thing at all."

The fix included not just resealing the road, but a high quality transformation of the stretch of road, council officers said.

- By Radio New Zealand's Laura Dooney

The community is calling for a return to the pre-cycleway design that wouldn't see carparks removed. Source: Breakfast