Whakatāne girl undergoes emergency surgery to reduce chance of brain damage while on US holiday

A Whakatāne girl underwent emergency brain surgery to reduce the chances of brain damage after suffering a head injury while on holiday in the US.

According to the Givealittle page set up to raise funds for her family, Alyssa Ledbetter, 11, complained of a severe headache, neck pain, blurry vision and numbness in her legs after swimming with family on July 21

As she emerged from the water her father said they knew from the symptoms it was likely to be a spinal or head injury.

They got her to the lifeguard tower, where a doctor nearby assisted but Alyssa’s condition deteriorated quickly.

She lost control of her bodily functions and began to have uncontrollable seizures.

The brain surgery doctors said Alyssa had two arteriovenous malformations (AVM) in the frontal cortex of her brain.

Alyssa was taken to surgery immediately where they drilled through her skull to relieve the pressure and drain the fluids.  She remained in the intensive care unit while her brain slowly healed.

Once discharged from the hospital, she would have to complete an outpatient treatment programme before being allowed to return to New Zealand.

The Givealittle page is helping the family raise money to cover medical expenses, including the cost of surgery, ongoing CT and MRI scans, medications and various travel and accommodation expenses.

Alyssa Ledbetter. Source: Give A Little.



Armed man demands cash and cigarettes from service station near Whangarei

Police are seeking assistance from the public after an armed robbery at a service station in Ruakaka, south of Whangarei last night.

The heavily disguised male was armed with a firearm and carried a black back pack which he used to store the cash and cigarettes that he stole.

He was seen running to a vehicle that was parked at the northern end of the service station and driving off towards Whangarei.

Anyone with information should contact Detective Sergeant Aaron Crawford at Whangarei Police on 09 430 4500.

Information can also be provided anonymously to the organisation Crimestoppers, on 0800 555 111.

Cops are searching for a man after an aggravated robbery at a bar in the Hawke’s Bay town today.
Source: 1 NEWS

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Call for complete ban on ivory trade in New Zealand

An environmental policy analyst is calling on the Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage to ban the buying and selling of ivory in New Zealand.

Fiona Gordon from the Jane Goodall Institute said New Zealand voted in favour of a global initiative to ban domestic ivory markets two years ago, but no steps have been taken since to shut it down.

"We voted in favour of an historic resolution to close all global domestic ivory markets where they're contributing to illegal trade and here we have in New Zealand examples of illegal trade going on and we have a completely unregulated market still so yeah, we're looking more and more like an outlier on this."

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), to which New Zealand is a party, passed the resolution in 2016.

Ms Gordon said while it was illegal to import ivory without a special permit, it frequently passed through the border.

"People are quite surprised to hear that New Zealand has a market for ivory, it's quite a lucrative trade.

"We're not talking about ivory-handled cutlery either, we're talking carvings, 100 percent ivory which fetches thousands of dollars each."

She said ivory that made its way illegally into New Zealand could be sold at places like auction houses, where there were no requirements for proof of origin or age of the product.

"So if you manage to get some ivory illegally you could sell it on the domestic market for no problem at all."

Today is World Elephant Day. Ms Gordon said an elephant dies every 20 minutes, and the ivory trade played a huge role in their deaths.

There are now less than 400,000 elephants remaining world-wide.

"The plight of elephants is fairly well documented.

"International trade for elephant ivory has essentially been banned but what we do have is nations who still have legal domestic markets and New Zealand is one of those nations.

"Where you have legal ivory markets you have huge risk for illegal products being laundered under the guise of legality and that's exactly what's happened here."

She said there had been about 100 seizures of ivory at the New Zealand border over the last ten years.

"That might not sound like a lot but every piece of ivory counts toward a dead elephant so I think we have to be mindful about that global response because at the moment New Zealand is part of the problem."

The Jane Goodall Institute is urging people to petition Ms Sage for a complete ban on the domestic ivory and rhino horn trade.

Eight items made from African elephant tusks that cost a New Zealander $12,000 in fines. Source: rnz.co.nz