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More than half of summer drownings have been in fresh water

More than half of summer drownings have been in fresh water

New Zealand has had 16 preventable drownings* this summer.

New Zealand has had 16 preventable drownings* since the start of summer and 56% of those have been in fresh water, Water Safety NZ stats show. 

“It’s important people realise they have less buoyancy in fresh water than in salt water,” Water Safety NZ spokesman Ben Christie said. 

“It requires more energy to swim and stay afloat, so you become tired quicker.  

“Many of our freshwater lakes are alpine-fed and cold, which also drains energy and makes you tired quicker.   

“People need to stay within their limits,” he said. 

Of the 16 preventable drownings across the country, four were at beaches, two were in tidal waters and one was at a public pool. 

There have been five preventable fatalities in rivers this summer and overall, more people have drowned in rivers than any other environment since records began. 

“Rivers can be deceptive and have strong currents and undertows,” Christie said.  

A man in his 20s was resuscitated after a near-fatal drowning in a water hole in the Karangahake Gorge at the beginning of February. 

Fellow swimmers saved his life by pulling him out of the water, before a woman performed life-saving CPR on him. 

The TECT Rescue Helicopter, sponsored by Westpac NZ, then winched him out and transported him to North Shore hospital for recovery. 

“We’ve attended four drownings or near drownings in fresh water since December 1 in the Waikato and Bay of Plenty region,” Sharni Weir of the Philips Search and Rescue Trust said. 

“If someone at the scene can start CPR as soon as possible, that can save a person’s life, as we saw in Karangahake Gorge,” Weir said. 

Christie recommends people don’t swim near waterfalls or dams.  

“It is important if people are travelling around this summer and swimming at new spots that they get local knowledge about the risks and read and obey any warning signage.  

“If you plan on swimming in fresh water, take a throw rope or flotation device that you can use to help if someone gets into trouble.  

“If you see someone in trouble in the water, dial 111 and alert emergency services.” 

 “It takes less than 30 seconds for a child to drown. Remember the water safety code: Be prepared, look out for yourself and each other, be aware of the dangers and know your limits,” he said. 

Being ready and able to step in and perform CPR in an emergency is one way to be prepared around water.  

This summer, Westpac launched a nationwide campaign to help Kiwis learn CPR, with the Westpac Rescue Rashie. Find out more here. 

*Preventable drowning fatalities are those where water safety sector intervention could have had an influence (for example where the victim was boating, swimming, diving), while non-preventable include events such as suicides, homicides and vehicle accidents (where water safety education and activity would not have prevented the death).  

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Auckland high school closes again after third student tests positive for Covid | New Zealand

One of New Zealand’s largest high schools has closed again after another student and t wo siblings tested positive for Covid-19.

Papatoetoe high school in south Auckland was closed last week after two students and two parents tested positive. It reopened this week but closed again on Wednesday after a third student tested positive on Tuesday. Two siblings of the students also tested positive later on Tuesday.

Health authorities have been trying to test and contact-trace all 1,500 students, but were unable to find and test a small number of pupils and their families.

Late on Tuesday, a day after students returned to school, another tested positive, meaning the school has now been closed again and the entire student body and staff have to be re-tested.

Two siblings who live with the infected student have also tested positive, sending ripples of fear through the south Auckland community about how far the virus could have spread.

Auckland is now at level 1 after a three-day lockdown, and as yet there has been no alert level change, with director-general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield saying the outbreak can be managed with contacts at the school and their families self-isolating at home, instead of the whole city.

“I had a formal discussion with my chief science advisor and director of public health – we didn’t see any reason to go up alert levels,” Bloomfield told the AM show on Wednesday.

Health authorities would now start door-knocking when they are unable to locate a contact.

“Everyone in a Papatoetoe high school household must stay away from work or any other school, educational facility or community setting, for example the supermarket or any other place outside the home,” the ministry of health said.

Genome sequencing has found this week’s cases are related to the original outbreak, which is of the more transmissible UK varient.

Locations visited by the latest cases include a Kmart and a Vape shop.

Dr Bloomfield said the latest cases are displaying new symptoms not commonly seen with the virus, including mucle aches and lethargy, and didn’t have any of the usual covid symptoms, such as a cough and sore throat.

The second batch of vaccine has now arrived in New Zealand and more than 1000 border workers have recieved the jab after a nationwide vaccination programme began on Saturday, beginning with border workers, frontline health staff, and the elderly.

“We started our immunisation programme to around 12,000 border and managed isolation and quarantine workers last Saturday, and once completed, we’ll begin vaccinating their household contacts,” Chris Hipkins, the covid-19 response minister said.

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EightyOne welcomes new recruit –

EightyOne welcomes new recruit –

EightyOne has appointed strategist Brendan Sturrock to its growing team in Wellington.

Sturrock left New Zealand many moons ago, spending the best part of the past two decades between Paris and London. He started out in account management for regional and global brands at Ogilvy Paris – branching out into strategy one extra passport and hop across the channel later. 

Most recently he’s led through the line creative and comms strategy on work for a wide range of clients including Emirates, HSBC, GSK, Amazon and Toblerone at Geometry (now VMLY&R Commerce) London, and was part of WPP’s Team Energy running BP globally. 

But he finally felt it was time to bring the family back home to friendlier – and (mostly) Covid-free shores.

MD of EightyOne Matt West says: “We’ve been on a journey here at EightyOne. It feels right to have someone of Brendan’s calibre join us now. Like us, he’s fascinated in how we bring creative to life through data insight in order to change behaviour. He’s the missing piece to add to the outstanding creative team that Chris has built.”

Sturrock adds: “I came back to New Zealand motivated to do what I can to give back to our team of five million and help people, and brands, reach their potential. So I feel incredibly fortunate to land with a smart and generous like-minded crew here at EightyOne. There’s enormous potential in this unique combination of data and creativity alongside a burning desire to take whatever we touch to a better place. 

“I’m also stoked to have gotten out from behind a makeshift desk in the bedroom of our London flat to a lovely space in the heart of beautiful Wellington.”

Sturrock commenced his role at the start of February.

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Queensland removes NZ as ‘safe travel country’

Queensland removes NZ as ‘safe travel country’

Queensland has removed New Zealand as a ‘safe travel country’, Queensland Health has announced.

Travellers from New Zealand who arrive in Queensland from 6pm local time Wednesday will have to complete quarantine after the state removed New Zealand’s “safe travel country” status.

According to Queensland Health, the move comes after the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) was told the level of risk in New Zealand had increased.

“Unfortunately, over the past few days New Zealand has been recording some new positive cases, which is why we are closing the border from 6pm,” Dr Jeannette Young said.

“Anyone who is permitted to travel to Queensland from New Zealand will be required to quarantine on arrival.

“Acting with an abundance of caution has kept Queenslanders safe and that’s exactly the path we will continue to take.

“Things can change really quickly with this virus – we’ve seen that in other countries around the world, which is why I am asking Queenslanders to reconsider their need to travel to New Zealand.”

Queensland Health has also recommended all travellers who have been in New Zealand since February 21 to come forward, get tested and self-isolate until they have their results back.

The announcement comes following new Covid-19 community cases on Tuesday linked to the Papatoetoe cluster.

Dr Young said New Zealand was still at a “critical stage” of its response to the latest outbreak.

“New Zealand is working very hard to contain this community transmission, but they are still in a critical stage of their response so we need to keep watching closely,” she said.

“Things can change really quickly with this virus – we’ve seen that in other countries around the world, which is why I am asking Queenslanders to reconsider their need to travel to New Zealand.”

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14kg meteorite found in Sweden – Kiwi Kids News

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Heimgartner signs for another season

Heimgartner signs for another season

Dannemora’s Andre Heimgartner, based in Melbourne, has locked in as ambassador for another season with Ben Blackburn Racing. Photo supplied

Supercars driver Andre Heimgartner, from Dannemora, is being sponsored by Ben Blackburn Racing for another season.

“I am extremely proud to back Andre Heimgartner and have him as our Supercars ambassador for a fourth season is really a privilege,” director Ben Blackburn said.

“I have sponsored Andre since he kick-started his Supercars career with Kelly Grove Racing some years ago now and it’s a long term partnership which means a lot to me.

“I have been loyal to Andre, he was the first driver I sponsored back in 2018 and I have got nothing but absolute loyalty back.

“That’s really something he has built his sponsors and support team around. Andre will always reply with ‘we’ or ‘the team’ never ‘I’ because he can see the bigger picture and he sets an infectious tone of positivity to be around.

“I have every confidence that Andre will continue to build his career to brand new heights and achieve even more personal best results in the 2021 Supercars season.

“The fans love him. Sponsors love him. Teams love him. And he is a great ambassador who is always generous with his time.

Blackburn said Heimgartner and Dilan Talabani (engineer) had built up a good working relationship and he continued to train hard with driver and fitness coach Josh Webb from 1 Percent Performance.

“I am really looking forward to seeing even more positive results in 2021,” Blackburn said.

Heimgartner said he was thankful to have Ben Blackburn Racing sponsor him for another year.

“Ben has supported me for a very long time and it’s partnerships like this that count towards making my career a success,” Heimgartner said.

“A big thank you to Ben for his continued backing, I’m really looking forward to 2021 and I’m hopeful that we can bring home some positive results.”

The Supercars hit the track for the opening round of the season at the Repco Mt Panorama 500 from February 26-28.

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Recap: There’s something fishy going on with The Bachelorette NZ

Recap: There’s something fishy going on with The Bachelorette NZ

Bachelor superfans Jane Yee and Tara Ward recap the highs and lows of week four of The Bachelorette NZ.

Hear more from Team Jack on this week’s episode of The Real Pod. Get it on Apple PodcastsSpotify or wherever you normally listen to podcasts.

Tara Ward: Jane, I wanted to make a good impression on you for this week’s recap, so I came bearing gifts: a gnarly ring, a baby shark, and a container filled with raw fish. It’s a trio of romantic delights that would win over any Kiwi woman, so you can thank me later. 

Jane Yee: I don’t care about your gifts (but also, thank you kindly), I only care about Jack. Bring back Jack!

TW: I feel your pain. It seemed like Jack and Lexie were going to be the love story of the season, until he left. They had passion. They had power. There was a raw…thing between them that they couldn’t verbalise into human words, which is usually all it takes in the Bachelor universe to secure a 4.5 carat three stone diamond and a happily-ever-after. What the heck happened?

Jack, Lexie and Lexie’s beer, in happier times.

JY: I don’t know but I do know it was a huge mistake. Gimme that raw thing over Hamish’s raw fish any day. Whatever it is that Lexie and Jack had, I want it. It’s just a shame that Lexie didn’t. Or Jack didn’t? It can’t possibly be because he is only 25 when Toddles is a mere year older and now in the final two. 

TW: I was really hoping Lexie was going to catch Jack on the end of her fishing line during her home dates, because that would have been one heck of a twist.

JY: If there are plenty more Jacks in the sea, then pass me some flippers because I’m diving in.

TW: We said a sad goodbye to Jack, and Jesse tapped out while Todd was in the toilet. What did you think of Lexie’s home dates with Hamish, Joe, Todd and Paul? It always feels awkward, even though Lexie was super nice and said lovely things about the food and everyone immediately fell in love with her. 


JY: Let’s start with Hamo. A spot of fishing. A broken down boat. Some timely rescuers that I was certain were going to reveal themselves as Ham’s friends and fam, but it turned out our lovely couple really were stranded. Apparently Hamish doesn’t know how to turn the key on his trusty vessel.

TW: If Hamish hadn’t giggled so much, I would have thought they were in real trouble. What if that was how this season ended? Lexie and Hamish stranded on his little boat, quietly drifting out to sea, the sound of Hamish’s giggles slowly getting further and further away. Slow fade, roll credits. I mean, imagine the ratings. 

JY: I love nothing more than imagining those giggles getting further away. I can’t remember a thing about Hamish’s family, which must mean they were perfectly fine. Or I was distracted by all the giggling, hard to say. Tell you who doesn’t giggle, or show any real emotion at all, and that’s our man Joe. For his home date with Lexie he flat out ignored TLC’s instructions and went waterfall chasing. I’ve always wondered what’s behind a waterfall, and now I know: heaps of pashing.


TW: Joe’s mother was on to it, especially when he noticed Lexie did not like her left side, because that was where Joe was sitting. Then she made sure her dog was included in her family cuddle. What a woman. 

JY: This was as close to any significant drama we’ve had all season. In three minutes Joe’s mum gave us more content than Joe has in four weeks. But the drama didn’t end there, bring in the Todd Squad!

TW: Has there ever been a home date by Skype in the world history of The Bachelor? These are unprecedented times, but I thought the trans-Tasman gnocchi making was cute. Less cute was the interrogation of Lexie by Todd’s friends, who wanted to know “what Lexie would bring to the table”. Did they ask Hamish the same thing as well? Is that why he keeps turning up with raw fish?

Stoked to be here, excited to see what happens next. (Photo: TVNZ)

JY: If Lexie brought gnocchi to my table I would be giving her my stamp of approval, no questions asked. Literally none. Tweedledum and Tweedledee had no business trying to drive a wedge between Lexie and Todd. Thank god for old Mrs Brown, a beloved teacher from beloved Kawerau, and also a beloved grandma of Lexie’s.

TW: Only in New Zealand would an attempt to create a villain and a hero in a reality show be upstaged by both parties having a heartwarming link to an elderly grandmother living in a small town.

JY: Also only in New Zealand would you go from fine dining Paris style to donning a lavalava for some coconut shaving in the backyard, all in one date. 

TW: I loved Paul’s family, which made it very sad when Lexie gave him the boot at the next rose ceremony. We barely had 10 minutes together, and now it’s over forever. Goodbye Paul with the good hair, and smell you later, Joe. 

JY: I have to call Joe out for pulling the classic “you’re about to break up with me so I’m gonna beat you to it” routine. Up until then I had no feelings about Joe, but when he gazump dumped Lexie I felt like the trash had taken itself out. Smell you later indeed.

Now we’re down to the final two, Hamish and Todd, who both seemed to get along well with Lexie’s family, but Hamish had the edge with all that fish and kina chat. He also extended his advantage by tossing Todd under the Australian bus at every opportunity in the hope it would put Lexie’s loved ones off his rival.

TW: Hamish is a winner for choosing hot chocolate over coffee. I thought I was the only non-coffee freak in the world, but now there’s two of us, and frankly I feel much better about it. Who doesn’t want marshmallows with their hot drink? You’re missing out.  

JY: Perhaps you and Hamish can get together for a hot choccie when this is all over. I feel like he’s going to have a lot of time on his hands. He surely won’t take the win given that Lexie hasn’t figured out if she likes him more than a friend (even though I’ve figured out that she doesn’t). An awkward “oh yup, see ya” at the end of your last date before the final rose is not what love stories are made of. 

TW: Nah, it’s Hamish for the win. See you Monday night for the finale. I’ll bring the hot chocolates. 

JY: I shall be waiting like a cockle in Toddy’s back pocket.

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Health Warning – Algal Bloom In Waimakariri River At Thompsons Road (The Willows)

Health Warning – Algal Bloom In Waimakariri River At Thompsons Road (The Willows)

Canterbury DHB’s Community and Public Health unit has
issued a health warning for the Waimakariri River at
Thompsons Road (The Willows).

The warning follows the
finding of moderate to high cover of potentially toxic algae
(benthic cyanobacteria).

People should avoid the area
and animals, particularly dogs, should not be allowed near
the water until the health warning has been

There are also other access points along the
Waimakariri River that may have benthic cyanobacteria
present. People are advised to treat every low-flowing river
cautiously, check for the presence of benthic cyanobacteria
and avoid contact.

Dr Cheryl Brunton, Canterbury
Medical Officer of Health, says the algae look like dark
brown to black mats and can produce toxins harmful to people
and animals.

“Exposure may cause skin rashes,
nausea, stomach cramps, tingling and numbness around the
mouth and fingertips.

“If you experience any of
these symptoms, visit your doctor immediately, also let your
doctor know if you’ve had contact with dark brown/black
algal mats or water in this area,” Dr Brunton

Pets that show signs of illness after
coming into contact with algal mats should be taken to a vet

People and animals should remain
out of the waterways until the warnings have been

Environment Canterbury is monitoring the sites
and the public will be advised of any changes in water

Facts about

  • Appears as dark brown/black mats
    attached to rocks along the riverbed.
  • A low cover of
    the algae can occur naturally but can increase rapidly
    during warmer months. Algal blooms are influenced by a
    combination of available nutrients in the water and
    sediments (such as nitrogen and phosphorus), a sustained
    period of low and stable flows, and favourable weather
    conditions (e.g. increased temperature, calm
  • It often has a strong musty smell and algal
    toxin concentrations can vary over short
  • Although high river levels will remove the
    algal bloom, detached mats can accumulate along the shore
    and increase the risk of exposure to toxins.
  • If a
    health warning is in place avoid contact with the
  • Although district or city councils may place
    warning signs, these may not be seen at the numerous river
    access points, hence the need for people/ dog-walkers to
    treat every low-flowing river

© Scoop Media


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Reserve Bank holds Official Cash Rate (OCR) at 0.25 percent

Reserve Bank holds Official Cash Rate (OCR) at 0.25 percent


*This article first appeared on RNZ and is republished with permission.

The Reserve Bank has held the official cash rate (OCR) at a record low 0.25 percent, as expected, and repeated it will press on with stimulatory monetary policies to support the economy from the pandemic.

It acknowledged the economy has performed better than expected but said recovery here and around the world was uneven and the outlook uncertain, as it would take time for Covid-19 vaccination programmes to have an effect.

“Economic activity in New Zealand picked up over recent months, in line with the easing of health-related social restrictions. Households and businesses also benefitted from significant fiscal and monetary policy support, bolstering their cash-flow and spending,” it said in a statement.

“This ongoing uncertainty is expected to constrain business investment and household spending growth. “

The RBNZ’s monetary policy committee said the central bank was still short of reaching its targets of sustainable employment and inflation about 2 percent, and that would mean it would stick with its $100 billion bond buying programme, which aims to keep pressure on interest rates.

It also reaffirmed the recently started funding for lending programme (FLP) which has been pumping cheap money into banks to be on-lent to businesses and households at the same level as the OCR.

The committee also said it was prepared for the possible use of a negative OCR.

“The committee agreed that the risks to the economic outlook are balanced, in large part due to the anticipated prolonged period of monetary stimulus”.

The New Zealand dollar gained modestly against the US dollar after the announcement to about 73.65 US cents.

ASB chief economist Nick Tuffley said the statement was steady and cautious.

“The key messages are that the environment remains highly uncertain, and that the medium-term objectives of the RNBZ will not be met without prolonged monetary stimulus.”

“We continue to expect the RBNZ will gingerly start lifting the OCR from August 2022.”

Read the RBNZ’s full monetary policy statement here.

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