Work starts for Hundertwasser Art Centre in Whangārei

Work's begun in earnest this week on Whangārei's Hundertwasser Art Centre.

Contractors have finished demolishing the old Harbour Board building on the site and started driving the piles.

A spokesman for the $28 million project, Greg Hayes, said the foundations would be supporting the largest earth-roof in the southern hemisphere.

Mr Hayes said 75 steel tubes will be driven 33 metres into the ground, then augured out and filled with steel and concrete to lock into the bedrock.

The job should take about a month, he said.

Mr Hayes said neighbours of the Hundertwasser project were braced for some serious thumping as the piles went in but there had been a lot less vibration than expected.

By Lois Williams

rnz.co.nz

Contractors have to drive 75 steel tubes 33 metres into the ground.
Contractors have to drive 75 steel tubes 33 metres into the ground. Source: rnz.co.nz



Weekend's most read: Pregnant women refusing prenatal care after children taken by social services

This story was first published on Sunday September 16.

More than 6000 children are in the care of Oranga Tamaraki – a 22 per cent increase from six years ago. Source: 1 NEWS

Health professionals say women whose children have been taken by social services are refusing to seek prenatal care when they fall pregnant for fear of having their newborns taken, too.

One Kaitaia couple, Mary and Warren, had their first child taken into care by social services because of domestic violence and mental health problems.

Mary believes social services' decision to remove their child from their care was fair at the time, but she claims they "also said that I'd be able to get him back and that I'd get a house in six months".

When Mary became pregnant for a second time, it was six months before she sought prenatal care.

Mary and Warren's fears were realised when their second child was taken from them at birth, with Oranga Tamariki saying their baby was at risk.

"I just cried and wouldn't give her to them. The nurse actually had to take her off me," she said.

The couple's children are among more than 6000 New Zealand kids under the care of Oranga Tamariki this year – a 22 per cent increase on the number of children in care six years ago.

The agency says it only takes such drastic action when there are concerns of a serious nature, and only when all other options have been explored.

However, Northland midwife Colleen Brown is concerned the move is putting pregnant mothers off seeking help.

"There is no way, unless you are gonna go bush and have your pepe (baby), that you are gonna keep that pepe," Ms Brown said.

1 NEWS has spoken to several pregnant mothers who are considered at risk.

Some are expecting mothers who would like help with their drug and alcohol abuse but have not reached out for help out of fear of losing their children. Some have children who have already been removed from their care.

But Oranga Tamariki says those who do not seek help are putting their babies at further risk.

Deanne 'Dee' McManus-Emery, the regional manager for Oranga Tamariki South Auckland, says, "We are hearing stories from our families that we do know, but we're also hearing it from our community organisations, colleagues and also our health providers".

"What we're trying to do is work in partnership with those providers, ensuring that there is a jointed approach to ensure the right support services are wrapped around them," Ms McManus-Emery explained.

"We certainly would want families to be accessing their prenatal care because that gives children the best start in life."

Ms Brown is urging mothers with fears of losing their child "to take ownership of it" and get the help they need.

"They need to come forward because there is help available for them," she said.

Mary and Warren visit their children twice a week and are working with social agencies to get them back permanently.

"I'd like our kids back. I’d like to be given a chance," Warren said.



Government sets goal of making Auckland's Waiheke Island predator free by 2025

Auckland's Waiheke Island will be predator free by 2025.

That's the goal of the Government which Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage announced today for Te Korowai o Waiheke: Towards Predator Free Waiheke.

A total of $10.9 million is budgeted for the project which was launched at Piritahi Marae on the Hauraki Gulf island today. Of that $2.6 million will come from the Predator Free 2050 fund.

"Successful eradication of stoats and rats from Waiheke would make it the world’s largest and most populated island predator eradication project," Ms Sage says.

"A predator-free Waiheke will see the return of native birds from neighbouring predator-free islands such as Motuihe, Motutapu and Rangitoto.

“We are already starting to see this happen with the recent return of North Island kākā to Waiheke.

"Eradicating rats and stoats will enable North Island kākā, kākāriki, kereru, tui, korimako or bellbird, piwakawaka or fantail, tūturiwhatu or New Zealand dotterel, ōi or grey-faced petrel and kororā or little blue penguins to breed safely and increase in number on Waiheke."

Ms Sage says Auckland Council, Predator Free 2050 and Foundation North are providing the bulk of the funding for the people of Waiheke to rid their island of stoats and rats.

Waiheke Island / Auckland
Waiheke Island (file picture). Source: istock.com


Queenstown ziplining business challenging young Kiwi gamers to connect with the outdoors through Fortnite-themed tour

Flying through the trees instead of staring at screens, Ziptrek Ecotours is a zipline adventure in Queenstown challenging young Kiwi gamers to connect with the outdoors.

One of the tours is themed around the popular online video game, Fortnite.

Ziptrek Ecotours' sales and marketing manager Nicky Busst said, "Fortnite is out in the forest, you get to do challenges, they have victory dances they do, everyone knows 'the floss'".

Played by more than 40 million people worldwide, some are concerned the survival game has an addictive nature.

"I'm also a parent of two boys that I believe spend way too much time on computer games and have become addicted to the Fortnite craze," Ms Busst said.

So they brought "the floss" to the forest, with special challenges and even a Fornite-themed dance-off to take the game off the screen.

On average, high school students spend around 12 hours per week gaming, with only 10 per cent of them meeting the Ministry of Health's recommendations for 60 minutes of exercise a day.

James Driver, a psychotherapist specialising in gaming addiction, says, "While early research suggests the numbers are low at around five per cent, the effects can be severe".

"It can have fairly significant impacts on people's mental health. It can increase depression and anxiety," Mr Driver said.

After the experience, one child said, "I get outside a fair bit but I probably should get outside a bit more". 

"It's a good lesson to know, like, to stay outside and not just always be on your computer," another said.

The company is also challenging more Kiwi kids to get outdoors through the online game. Source: 1 NEWS