Wellington Archbishop 'humbled' and surprised by cardinal appointment

The Wellington Archbishop named today by Pope Francis in the batch of new cardinals says the appointment came as a big surprise.

Source: Associated Press

Archbishop John Atcherley Dew says he is "humbled and honoured" to be one of 20 new cardinals appointed from 14 countries around the world, including at least one from every continent.

Mr Dew studied at the Holy Cross College is Mosgiel before being ordained as a priest and posted to the Diocese of Wellington in 1976. Thirty years later he was made Archbishop of Wellington when cardinal Thomas Williams retired.

Cardinals were chosen from all over the world including Tongan Bishop Soane Patita Paini Mafia. He joins others from France, Portugal, Ethiopia, Italy, Vietnam, Myanmar, Uruguay, Tonga and Panama.

Pope Francis says his wide-ranging selection emphasised the Vatican's "inseparable bond" with Catholic Churches around the world.

Fifteen of the new appointees are under 80, making them eligible to enter a conclave to elect the Pope's successor. They will be formally installed on February 14.

Last January Pope Francis named 19 new additions, including churchmen from Haiti and Burkina Faso, which a Vatican spokesman said reflected his commitment to the poor.

He has now chosen over a quarter of all cardinals able to vote for the next Pope.

He posted on Facebook today his thanks for all the messages of support he had received, adding "it seems some of you heard the announcement before I did".

"Needless to say I am humbled and honoured by His Holiness' announcement and what this means for the Church in Aotearoa New Zealand and Oceania," he said.

"For the wider Oceania region I am excited in the news that Bishop Soane Mafi from Tonga has also been named."

Archbishop John Dew says he is ‘humbled and honoured’ the Pope has chosen him. Source: 1 NEWS


Stink erupts at iconic Auckland surf beach

Parts of West Auckland's Piha Beach are now off limits for swimming because of unacceptably high levels of faecal matter in the water.

A health warning is in force for the lagoon at the iconic surf beach, which has its own TV show, as scientists use DNA to help find the culprits.

Using the latest technology, council scientists will identify which species is responsible for the pollution, and if it's human DNA testing will allow them to pinpoint it to a specific area.

"We've got a health warning in force...the water quality sampling we did last week returned a sample above the recreational guidelines," Auckland environment scientist Martin Neale says.

"I don't think we'll be able to say it's an individual person or family but we can say it's human and it's coming from this particular location...it's certainly not going to be Mr Smith's poo that we're going to be chasing."

Testing has shown unacceptably high levels of faecal matter in the water at Piha Beach. Source: 1 NEWS



Canterbury blaze: House fire being treated as suspicious, residents return

One of the blazes at Pines Beach in north Canterbury today is now being treated as suspicious.

Two fires started in the area at around 2pm, one in a house, which authorities are treating as suspicious, and another in a plantation area across the road.

ONE News reporter Joy Reid says the fire in the forestry area spread quickly. She says 20 fire appliances and a helicopter were called to the scene and managed to contain the blaze.

The large blaze forced the evacuation of forty properties at its peak. All residents have since been allowed to return to their homes.

Canterbury Police and investigators from the Fire Service are working within a reduced cordon to dampen down any remaining hotspots so that the area is safe for a full scene examination to be completed.

Police are asking the public to avoid the cordoned area around the plantation while the scene investigations are carried out.

Police and the Fire Service say the prompt reporting of this fire not only minimised the impact on the Pines Beach community but also resulted in no residential properties being damaged or lost.

They have asked the public to report any suspicious activity or signs of smoke in remote areas and to take care when in scrub land.

A drone has captured incredible footage of the fire which spread quickly in Pines Beach in Canterbury today. Source: 1 NEWS