Sunday, October 18, 2009

Men stabbed in 'fight over woman' - police

Stuff, Herald

Two men are undergoing surgery this afternoon after a stabbing incident in Papakura in Auckland.

Senior Sergeant Steve Greally said it was believed the men were stabbed while they were fighting over a woman.

The stabbing wounds were not life threatening and the police were yet to take statements off the men involved, he said.

Taihape back on rail map

Sunday October 18, 2009

ONE News, TV3

News that Taihape is being put back on the rail map has been given the thumbs up by locals.

The central North Island town has been reinstated as a stop after it was dropped from the train timetable in 2005 due to falling numbers, KiwiRail said.

Taihape will be re-appear from October 23.

Rangitikei District Mayor Chalky Leary said the news was "really good," but questioned why the rail stop had not been used over the last three years.

Leary expected trains would only stop for about 10 minutes but said the town believed it would still be good for the local economy, and would give people another travelling option.

"It seems silly, it (the train service) was going right through from National Park to Marton. If you wanted to get off halfway through it was tough luck."

He said the most spectacular part of the main trunk line is the area between Taihape and Marton which included the Rangitikei Valley.

He said the stop would allow more people from Taihape to go through this area.

Tranz Scenic marketing manager Richard Keenan said the stop was being reinstated because they had been impressed with Taihape's commitment to regular train services, including enthusiasm for events and attractions which will add to the appeal of Taihape as a destination.

Hunter missing in Nelson Lakes National Park walks to safety

Stuff, TVNZ

LATEST: A hunter who was missing in the Southern Alps south of Nelson has made his way to safety, say police.

Tony Manson, 35, walked out of the area, south to a farmhouse about 9am this morning.

A search was launched after he failed to arrive at a pre-arranged time at the Sabine Hut, at the southern end of Lake Rotoroa, yesterday.

Mr Manson had been hunting alone while other members of his party hunted the western side of the lake.

Sergeant Mike Fi tzsimons of Nelson Search and Rescue said Mr Manson had walked out to a farmhouse about 9am this morning.

"He was disorientated and that probably had quite a bit to do with the fact he didn't have sufficient equipment or experience."

Mr Manson didn't have a compass, GPS system or map with him," Mr Fitzsimons told NZPA.

He said if Mr Manson had had the right equipment he could have made it to a hut 4km away, instead of tramping about 20km to the farmhouse .

Two search and rescue teams looked for Mr Manson last night, and five more teams were sent to the area this morning.

Maori Party aims for 18 seats

Stuff, TV3, TVNZ

The Maori Party plans to have 18 seats in Parliament by 2017, which will include all the Maori seats, its president told a group of Maori Party supporters today.

About 200 leaders and supporters attended the Maori Party's annual general meeting in Auckland today.

Leaders, members and MPs discussed the party's role in Parliament to date and its future plans.

Maori Party president Professor Whatarangi Winata said the party had been active in Parliament to date and had delivered 180 speeches since the beginning of the term.

The party wanted to increase its membership to have more influence in legislation, but co-leader Tariana Turia said for this to be done, more people needed to "cough up" more funds, particually those who were "well heeled".

She said she was disappointed about the recent Rugby World Cup bids but was otherwise pleased with how the Maori Party was working with National.

She said she expected the party to be able to see out its term with National and had a good relationship with Prime Minister John Key and his party.

"We do have a respectful relationship (but) we don't have to agree with one another," she said.

"The most important thing is the Maori Party is sitting at the same table as whoever is in Government."

The leaders discussed the climate change and the Emission Trading Scheme (ETS), and while Mrs Turia said she was personally opposed to the ETS, because it would effect forestry, fishing and farming, three areas essential to the Maori economy, the Maori Party supported the bill because that was what their supporters wanted.

Man assessed by mental health after ramming dairy

Stuff TV3

A man who allegedly forgot to take his medication has been arrested and assessed by mental health services after he rammed his car repeatedly into the front of a Whangarei dairy early today.

The 48-year-old local man was arrested after he drove his car into the front of the dairy at about 2.20am, police said.

Whangarei police Sergeant Howard Clement said it was believed the man stopped taking his medication, causing him to act "mental."

The damage to the dairy was estimated to run into thousands of dollars.

The man's car lost its bumper during the incident, Mr Clement said.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Teen killed in crash named

Herland, Stuff, TV1 TV3

10 October 2009

A Whangarei teenager is dead after a car he was travelling in collided with another car and rolled down a bank last night.

Whangarei police said Andrew Thomas Ellwood,19, was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash at 7.20pm.

He was a passenger in a car that was travelling along Whangarei Heads Road.

Police said the car crossed the centre line and hit an oncoming vehicle and went 2.5m down a bank.

Mr Ellwood and two other occupants were trapped in the car. Mr Ellwood was conscious when emergency services arrived but died shortly afterwards.

The two other occupants of the car were taken to hospital with serious injuries but were now in a stable condition.

The oncoming car had two adults and a child who were treated at the scene for minor injuries.

Police said they believed speed was a factor in the crash.


Rugby sevens included in Olympics

Herald, TV3
Sat, 10 Oct 2009 10:23a.m.

The New Zealand Rugby Union says it is "delighted" at the news sevens rugby will be included in the 2016 Olympics in Brazil.

Chief executive Steve Tew said the decision has come after a six year campaign to get the sport re-admitted into the Olympics, after over 80 years exclusion.

"We are obviously delighted. Sending our best athletes to participate in the Olympics games is a fantastic step for rugby."

The International Olympics Committee (IOC) voted in Copenhagen, Denmark early today (NZT) to support the inclusion of rugby sevens for both men and women at the 2016 Rio Janeiro Games

Tew said he believed the IOC wanted to "refresh the games and look into the future, basically sevens is part of the movement".

"Given New Zealanders shared passion for rugby and the Olympic Games, I am sure all Kiwi rugby fans would be excited at the prospect of our sevens team representing New Zealand on the Olympic stage," Tew he said.

The International Rugby Board delivered a 20-minute presentation that helped secure a comprehensive 81-8 vote in favour of the sport's inclusion in the games for the first time since 1924, the Guardian reported.

IRB secretary general Mike Miller, and president, Bernard Lapasset with a panel of players that included Jonah Lomu argued that the inclusion of sevens in the Olympics would help broaden the spread of countries that could win medals, grow the sport in new territories, and appeal to sponsors and fans, the paper reported.


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Souped-up' car wanted in relation to driveby shooting

ODT stuff

Sat, 3 Oct 2009

A "souped-up" Subaru is being sought in relation to an alleged driveby shooting in Otara on Wednesday night.

A 23-year-old male is still in a critical condition in Middlemore Hospital after being shot in the stomach while walking along O'Connor St about 8pm on Wednesday.

Counties Manukau police communications spokesperson Ana-Mari Gates-Bowey said a silver Subaru, "souped up with tinted windows and mag wheels" is wanted in connection to the shooting.

It was believed the car drove towards the Flatbush area after the man was shot. She said police were waiting for the victim to recover from major surgery on his stomach to get more information on the incident.

Police were still investigating the shooting and did not have a description of the offender, and had not arrested or charged anyone in relation to the shooting Detective Senior Sergeant Pete Jones said police were keen to speak with more witnesses and with anyone who had information on the attack.

"We know that there are more people out there who know what's happened and we are keen for them to speak to us.

"Anyone who saw the car in the Otara area between 7.30 and 8pm on Wednesday night is asked to contact police.

Dizzee Rascal 'naughty but nice'

tuff, TV3, yahoo

Dizzee Rascal describes his latest album as "naughty but nice" - a bit like himself.

Aside from releasing his fourth album Tongue in Cheek in New Zealand this week, it was also announced Rascal will be playing at the Big Day Out in Auckland on January 15.

The 24-year-old East Londoner's latest album has made him become the first British solo artist to ever have two consecutive No 1 on his own independent label.

The 10-track album still has aspects of his signature grime style, but also brings in hip-hop, reggae, house and even a hint of disco.

It flits between the schizophrenic club track Bonkers, which he worked on with UK DJ Armand Van Helden, to the sleazy swagger of Dance Wiv Me to the frantic pace of Road Rage which is based on Mills' own experiences of crashing into a police car.

"It's an up-tempo, fun party album, but quite edgy because it's me, basically naughty but nice, it's a bit rude."

When pressed about what is naughty in the album, he says sex has a big part in it, but it is not totally smutty.

"We're covering sex, there's naughty songs in there about a few of my little escapades, then there are the more serious tracks talk about social commentary, the economy and that."

He is particularly proud of the fact he has remained on his own label Dirtee Stank, and mentions about four times in the interview his three singles, Holiday, Bonkers and Dance Wiv Me have topped the UK charts.

He also boasts his music video for Bonkers was shot with a camera that captures six different angles at the same time.

"It's never been used in a music video before they've used it in one film or something like that. It's colourful and powerful, you know what I mean, and it's futuristic looking."

Another video, Holiday, has a particularly American hip-hop music video feel to it - complete with girls in thongs - but was shot in Ibiza, a place Mills calls "a nice holiday spot and a good place to play".

The album is about having fun and partying, he says.

He has recently branded himself a pop star, reflected in this album, which is more accessible.

When asked if the new branding and style might upset old fans, he says there are other things they could be upset over.

"The fact that I'm on TV will alienate some of my older fans but that's the way it goes, it's not a new thing for successful artists to upset old fans."
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While his fan base has increased dramatically, he says it's not always easy.

"I'm busier than I've even been and enjoying life a lot more, I get recognised wherever I go. Sometimes it's good, sometimes when I'm eating at a restaurant and there is a queue of people waiting for photos, it's a bit crazy."

Included in his fan base is Prince Harry who went to a festival he was performing at in the UK.

"We had a laugh and that and he was on the side of the stage dancing around with his friends."

Asked how he is going to celebrate the release of the album, he says he does not know yet, he's still trying to find a new way of celebrating going No 1, again.

* Tongue 'n' Cheek is out now. Dizzee Rascal performs at the Big Day Out on January 15.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Road rage attacker not truly remorseful, says victim's son

Updated 2:42PM Tuesday Sep 29, 2009

The son of the man killed in an "appalling" road rage attack says the perpetrator has not shown true remorse.

On his daughter's third birthday, Bio O'Brien, 28, was jailed in the High Court in Auckland today for three years for the manslaughter of Jasmatbhai Patel, 78, in the Auckland suburb of Mt Albert on April 7.

After their two cars were involved in a minor collision, O'Brien dragged Mr Patel from his vehicle and attacked him.

Mr Patel fell and hit his head. He died in Auckland Hospital the next day.

Justice Judith Potter said the starting point of four and a half years was reduced to three years because of O'Brien's early guilty plea, expressions of remorse, and an offer to meet his victim's family.

But Mr Patel's family said they did not want a meeting.

And after sentencing today the victim's son, George, said he did not think O'Brien was truly remorseful.

He said no sentence would be enough, although he respected the New Zealand justice system.

In his victim impact statement read to court, George Patel said his father was not an ordinary man.

"He was the most loving and caring dad."

When George Patel's mother died 20 years ago, he had promised to care for his father.

"His death felt like I lost a personal part of my life."

He said he drove past the spot his father was killed on Carrington Road every day.

"I will never again see or talk to my Dad. It makes me sad and distressed when I see violent acts on telly - I feel my Dad died the same way."

He said he did not wish even his worst enemy to die the way his father had.

His father was a very successful businessman in India and moved to New Zealand for a better life for his family. "He was a kind person who always put others before himself."

The court heard O'Brien and Mr Patel were both driving south on Carrington Rd when Mr Patel's car dented O'Brien's BMW.

O'Brien went to Mr Patel's van and pulled him out to look at the dent.

He pushed and pulled Mr Patel by his shirt and struck him on his face and chest.

He pushed him over and Mr Patel's head hit the kerb. He bled profusely from his left ear and his eyes rolled backwards.

O'Brien moved Mr Patel to the grass and waited for police to arrive.

Police prosecutor Nick Malarao told Justice Potter O'Brien's sentence should send be a deterrent for similar offences.

He said O'Brien was physically bigger than his vulnerable 78-year-old victim.

Defence counsel David Niven said O'Brien expressed remorse as soon as he realised what he had done.

In his statement to police, O'Brien said as soon as Mr Patel hit the ground, "I realised what I had done and tried to assist".

Justice Potter said she did not take into account O'Brien's prior convictions for male assaults female and threatening to kill in 2001.

She said it was an "appalling case of what may be described as road rage."

Driving in Auckland could be frustrating but O'Brien actions were "totally disproportionate" to the incident, she said.


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Maori designers get shot at big time

Dominion Post, Stuff
Last updated 14:12 22/09/2009

Fashion Week has made room for promising designers this week, with a section for Maori.

Eight up-and-coming Maori designers are to show their work at Auckland Fashion Week, after being chosen from the inaugural Miromoda Maori Fashion Design Awards.

The overall winner of the Miromoda competition also got to show at Planet IndigenUS Festival in Toronto, Canada.

Wiremu Barriball, a shoe, sunglasses and pressure sportswear designer from Titahi Bay near Wellington was the overall winner of the awards in June.

His collection, called Tu Ake, has direct links to his Maori heritage.

"It's Maori inspired and the things I was brought up with, it's traditional with a contemporary flavour to it."

It was "touch and go" whether he would enter the awards in the first place, he said.

"I wasn't sure I had enough to show, like to cover the models on the catwalk," he laughed.

Entering worked in his favour, and he was blissfully unaware of the trip to Canada attached to coming out on top.

Barriball called himself fresh blood in the fashion world, saying it's something he "just stumbled across".

"I've done so much in my career as an artist, fashion has only come in the last one-and-a-half years. Basically I've been labelled as a fashion designer, I need to have time to get used to it, I don't think I've paid my dues."

Up until winning a spot to show his work, he was quite ignorant about Fashion Week and its prestige, he said.

"It's mind-blowing now to think that we are involved in it. It's embarrassing I've taken it so lightly."

In contrast, Nelson designer Samara Vercoe knew exactly what she was getting herself into when she also won a spot through the Miromoda awards.

A design graduate of Massey University, Vercoe entered the competition with the aim of getting to Fashion Week.

She planned to show eight pieces on Thursday, which she has been frantically working on completing.

Her designs were conceptual, but still commercially viable, based on hand-dying to create a range of moody-blue garments, she said.

"It's all hand-detailed as well, beading and embroidery, there's a lot of time that goes into it."

The details she put into the garments was reflective of her love of vintage clothing and her desire to get people to spend money on quality clothing, rather than buying something made to last only one season.

"I want to encourage people to see the quality and appreciate the time and effort that goes into the clothes so they will treasure it more than discard it."
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Auckland-based designer Kiri Nathan was incorporating vintage influences in her collection, also showing at Miromoda on Thursday.

Her foray into fashion was about following her dreams, she said.

While she studied fashion 16 years ago, she had been working full-time in an unrelated field for the past decade. However, two years ago, she "left her job and chased her dream".

Her focus back on design lead her to win the Supreme award last year at the Style Pasifika Fashion awards, and then she also won at Miromoda.

"I've gone from having a business card to putting a full collection together, having professional photo shoot, catalogues, the whole shebang in 12 weeks."

Her collection was also inspired by vintage, but she has a definite Maori element to her designs.

"The collection is inspired by korowai traditional weave and the other is my grandmother's love of the vintage era, when a woman dresses like a woman, elegant and beautiful."

She will show eight one-off gowns, made of satins, silks and traditional woven korowai. She was a one-woman show with her dresses; she designed and constructed them.

She has never sold one of her works as she has not thought of it as a business yet. Expansion will be something she will think about after Fashion Week.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Brawling rugby schoolboys have suspensions cut

Last updated 14:27 19/09/2009

Former All Black Va'aiga Tuigamala is "elated" by today's successful appeal over the sentences for the Kelston Boy's High School rugby brawlers.

Five students from the Auckland school who were banned from playing rugby for their part in a brawl with rival Auckland Grammar School players have had their sentences drastically reduced.

They were initially suspended for between 10 and 16 months following the brawl during a game on August 15, while players from Auckland Grammar were suspended for between two and seven weeks.

Following an appeal before the Auckland Rugby Union appeal panel today, the Kelston students have had the sentences reduced to between seven and 14 weeks.

Mr Tuigamala, a Kelston old boy who had been critical about the original sentence, said today's outcome showed "common sense prevailing".

But he hoped the students involved had learned from the experience.

"The young men have done well in accepting their responsibility, taking it on the chin, standing up and being men," he said.

"I'm very proud of them. But at the same time they also know the lesson they learned and what they put their families through."

The Kelston Boys' board of trustees and principal had been "absolutely fantastic " in making the students take responsibility for th eir actions, with the students doing anger management courses and community service.

"Today's hearing is wonderful. I am absolutely elated for them, " Mr Tuigamala said.

Kelston lawyer John Haigh QC, said the original sentences were "unfair and unjust" but he was content with today's decision.

The students were "very pleased", he said.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Belt tightening at Fashion Week

TV3 website, Stuff, yahoo news, herald

Times are tough in fashion and Air New Zealand Fashion Week will reflect that. Belts are being tightened to save money. STACEY KNOTT of NZPA talks to two designers who combined forces to drastically cut costs for next week's show.

Fashion Week is a glitzy affair, but it is expensive. For a designer to put on a show to get media and buyers attention, it can cost upward of $20,000.

For the first time, Juliette Hogan, designer for her self-named label, and Anjali Stewart, one half of Twenty-Seven Names, have decided to combine forces and next week share the Auckland runway.

Though sharing something so crucial to commercial success is no easy feat, both said they could not do it with anyone else.

With Hogan in Auckland and Stewart in Wellington, there have been plenty of phone calls, emails and visits to organise the show.

They have had to decide on the models, hair and make-up, lighting, music, who they would invite, then send out invitations.

It has taken months of planning, thousands of dollars, and plenty of sleepless nights to put it all together.

Hogan likened the preparations to writing an essay at university.

She started vaguely thinking about her show three months before the event, but it was always a mad rush in the last minute to pull it together.

"Like writing an essay, you do the research in the two months but actually start writing it in the last two weeks when you have done all the research and looked around and it's all there in your head," she told NZPA.

"It works for me but it's a horrible way to work and I hate it but there's no way of getting away from it."

The designers said the recession has made them think about how they run their businesses.

Hogan started her label when the fashion industry was experiencing a boom. Her first Fashion Week show was in 2006 and she had the luxury to spend a lot on her it, whereas now she was trimming costs wherever she could.

Simple things like invites can save hundreds of dollars, she said.

"This year it's all about email invites so we don't have to pay for envelopes and stamps, being really cost conscious.

"When I first did the show it was expensive. You do the budget at the beginning and realise it costs $800 to put out tickets.

"Last year I made stupid big invitations because I thought they would look beautiful, then they cost $1.50...and you just don't think about it."

While both designers were coy over what to expect next week, both said their collections would evolve from their summer ones.

"We are looking at a musician again, it was Jimi Hendrix for summer, and this time we are looking at another notable musician and a performance artist.
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"It's not like we have intentionally decided to use a major musician for the last few seasons, it just happened," Stewart said.

Hogan said she was sticking to her "well-mannered girl" look.

Apart from the 15-minute show, they are most looking forward to it all being over.

"It becomes your world; this show at Fashion Week is what my life is about, you put it on and the people see the clothes for maybe 30 seconds then in two minutes it's over."

Despite that, they both said it was worth in it terms of the media coverage and the chance to show the story behind the collections.

"It becomes addictive, when you are putting on a show you are showing the collection and your brand story with music, hair and make-up and lighting you really get to portray how you want it that's the only way you can say `this is what my brand is about'," Hogan said.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Unitec student accommodation 'uninhabitable'

2:00PM Friday Sep 04, 2009
The Herald, online, The Weekend Herald, TV3, Newstalk ZB

Some Auckland tertiary students face overwhelming health problems because of the poor accommodation they are forced to live in, a student representative says.

The Unitec Institute of Technology leases two buildings on its Mount Albert campus for accommodation. Three hundred students, many of them from overseas, live there.

There has been a scabies outbreak and two cases of meningitis there, Unitec students' association president Greg Powell said.

It was accommodation close to slum conditions as the buildings were not being maintained, he said.

Each apartment is individually owned by outside parties (a body corporate) so Unitec leases the buildings to rent to the students.

Until recently there was no provision for refunds if unhappy students wanted to leave early. International students must pay their rent for a semester in advance.

Domestic students pay fortnightly for the duration of the period they have signed to stay for, which is usually a year.

Mr Powell said he had for 18 months been fielding complaints from students but conditions had deteriorated recently, making living there a "health hazard".

Some students moved in to find a big blood stain on a mattress, while another student found his mattress covered in ants the day he moved in, Mr Powell said.

At least five people have contracted scabies living there - it was spread through infected mattresses being moved around the rooms.

Gutters were blocked, which caused the water to run down and seep into the walls, increasing dampness problems, he said.

Two residents contracted meningitis - one has been recovering in hospital, the other was Greg Thomas, a first year student.

Mr Thomas is overcoming viral meningitis. He blamed his poor living conditions for the illness and feared he would now fail his course.

Other students spoken to by NZPA complained of low security in the buildings - last month there were five burglaries in three days.

One student said the windows had hardly any resistance and the bedroom doors could be easily opened with a credit card.

Since recent break-ins, Unitec put bars over downstairs windows, making it feel like a prison, said resident Ben Butcher.

"Why make your student accommodation look like a jail?"

Unitec chief financial officer and executive director of finance and infrastructure Paul Conder said it was dealing with each issue.

It would pass complaints to the body corporate.

Unitec needed permission from the apartment owners to make changes on the buildings, he said.

He placed blame on some of the students for not cleaning their apartments properly.

Unitec had responded to insect infestation by fumigating the buildings, and was planning an external review.

By saying it could only make changes with the body corporation's agreement, the Unitec was putting up a "smokescreen" to avoid taking responsibility, Mr Powell said.

"These are their students on their campus, they pay their money to the Unitec cashiers...It's (the accommodation) advertised and marketed as Unitec's in the booklets and pamphlets to overseas students and is on Unitec grounds," he said.

"That screams louder than anything else, it's Unitec problem."

Mr Powell is trying to get a building inspector and the health board to go through the apartments.

Students hated living in the Unitec accommodation and most of them wanted to move out but couldn't for fearing of losing thousands of dollars, he said.


Monday, August 31, 2009

Len Brown wants Maori in his super city

NZPA August 30, 2009, 1:30 pm

Manukau Mayor Len Brown is running for mayor of the Auckland super city council and wants Maori around the council table.

He told a crowd of about 200 supporters at One Tree Hill today he was officially running for the job.

Councillors, representatives from local iwi and South Auckland business people were at the launch to support Mr Brown.

Last week it was announced the super city would not have set Maori seats, which Mr Brown said had caused a sense of loss for local iwi.

He wanted Maori seats because "the mana whenua have an increasing business presence within our city, and we need to inspire our young Maori to excel", he said.

"I want to sit around the table with Maori and I want Maori around the table, so for me, there is a lot of work and discussions to be had."

He had decided to run because "the community has been on my back and determined that I should run".

The super city needed someone who could reach out to Auckland's diverse communities, a job he was best suited for, he said.

"I feel in my heart I have the compassion, commitment and love of the place."

Mr Brown told the crowd he would remain community focused, and that the super city would need to embrace Auckland's cultural diversity.

He would also focus on Auckland's economic growth because in 20 years he expected Auckland to have 50 percent of New Zealand's gross domestic product and 45 percent of its population.

"We need to deliver a better way forward for Auckland through strong economic growth."

Mr Brown pledge to give the entire Auckland community access to broadband internet in the next five years, have half of the city's waste taken to a green waste recycling strategy, and create stronger trade links with Asia and the Pacific.

He also wanted to replicate Manukau's free entry to swimming pools, and have a thriving cultural and arts scene.

A "21st century public transport system" with an integrated ticketing system was also on the cards if he was elected.

Mr Brown stressed he would not sell Auckland's public assets.

"We need to grow our future, not sell it ... I believe in public ownership, I will never sell the region's public assets."

He also stated the need for better education opportunities for Auckland youth.

"We need to empower young people ... we must be a centre of educational excellence."

Former Auckland mayor Dick Hubbard said with Mr Brown running there was no need for him to.

"I've always said I would not run if there is better person than me to run, and I think Len Brown fills that role ," he said.

"I strongly believe Len Brown is the man for Auckland. He's got the attributes that are needed for the first mayor of Auckland super city."

Mr Hubbard said Mr Brown had a strong sense of community, was politically centrist, and has a good , inclusive style.

"I think that he is 'we' and inclusive, whereas I think Auckland city is more about 'I'."

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Plumbing programme to go down the gurgler?

August 30, 2009
In Unison

Unitec is planning to sign a contract with the Plumbing, Gasfitting and Drainlaying ITO Ltd which some staff say could end several successful Unitec programmes, and will lead numerous staff to quit.
For about nine years, Unitec has offered its own programmes leading to National Certificates in Plumbing, Gasfitting and Drainlaying, which have been developed, moderated and approved according to Unitec policies and the requirements of the Education Act.
New Unitec programmes were approved by the Unitec Academic Board last year to deliver the new qualifications which came into force in January 2009.
The Unitec programmes were requested by the department’s Advisory Committee, and recommended by the Programme Committee. At the same time, both bodies considered a programme being proposed by the Plumbing ITO, and rejected it on educational and practical grounds.
It is claimed by staff members who analysed the ITO programme that it lacked virtually all the characteristics required of a viable programme, with no proper delivery material, and assessments which were incomplete and written at the wrong level.
Despite these concerns, Unitec chief executive Rick Ede says they are negotiating with the ITO but will eventually sign a contact with them, as he says he does not want Unitec to miss out on being part of the national system of plumbing and gasfitting education.
In Unison has spoken to several staff members in the plumbing department, who do not wish to be identified as they say they are now living in a climate of fear. They say they are worried about their jobs, the future of their industry and for the wellbeing of their students.
It is understood about eight staff are considering resigning over this issue.
One staff member described the ITO programme as “completely undeliverable and substandard and not fit for purpose in all respects.”
He says it is written at a level far lower than it should be, and the assessments cut out about 80 percent of what should be tested, he believes it is designed so it is almost impossible to fail.
The Unitec programme for the National Certificate in Plumbing and Gasfitting requires the completion of distance learning over four years, linked to a series of two week block courses where theory is integrated into the practical skills. There are a total of 22 weeks of block courses over the 4 year programme.
This contrasts with only 11 weeks of block courses in the ITO programme.
Plumbing Head of Department, Garry Cruickshank, has been suspended and faces dismissal following a complaint from lawyers acting for the ITO, regarding letters sent by Mr Cruickshank advising students and their employers to carefully consider the merits of both programmes before deciding which one to enrol in.
Other staff members in the faculty have also expressed serious concern at the developments, as almost all the trade programmes run at Unitec fall into the same category of local qualifications as the plumbing programmes, including the Certificate of Applied Technology, which is the single largest programme at Unitec.
It is feared that if the same policy is used in their own departments, it will lead to redundancies and a general lowering of standards.
A letter sent by Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics Quality to Unitec regarding courses and programmes offered by ITOs confirms that they are not able to have courses and programmes approved, and that only programmes offered through providers like Unitec are able to be approved, and courses offered by ITOs are not eligible for funding.
Staff say if this move is allowed Unitec stands to lose the programmes already set up and will lose up to 250 EFTS making the department unviable. It will also lower the student to staff ratio, currently at 24-1, the best in Unitec, down to 11-1, which will also mean losing a third of the staff.
“If Unitec ends up agreeing to that process then the entire basis of UATI collapse,” a staff member says. Dr Ede says concerned staff need to “take a deep breath” and work with the deans and himself over what they are trying to achieve. He says Unitec “cannot afford to be left out in the cold” over this issue, and believes the concerns over the ITO are not justified.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Opensouls' Latest Album Gets A Little Help From Their Friends

Opensouls' Latest Album Gets A Little Help From Their Friends
Sunday, 30 August, 2009 - 12:00

Tyra Hammond's friends may not be aware, but they have played a big part in the Opensouls' latest album, Standing in the Rain. Stacey Knott talks to the Opensouls singer.

Auckland, Aug 30 NZPA - Auckland band the Opensouls have just released their second album to rave reviews, but they don't have too many expectations for it, because it is so different to their debut.

The eight-piece hip-hop/RnB band's recently released Standing In The Rain was written to reflect the sound and feeling of the late-50s, early-60s British and American RnB era.

The Opensouls drew their inspirations from songwriters John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Smokey Robinson, Holland/Dozier/Holland and Van Morrison, to create a vintage quality, reminiscent of Motown in its heyday.

Hammond says the latest offering is very different from their debut, 2006's Kaleidoscope. Hammond and band mate Jeremy Toy wrote Standing In The Rain together, whereas the debut had the whole band collaborating.

The bands' debut album gained them a nomination for the Best Urban/Hip Hop album at the 06 NZ Music Awards and the single What Do You Do? claimed the best hip-hop song at the 06 BNet awards.

However, they do not have big expectations for the latest offering.

"All we can ask is for people to like it because it's just so different from the first one, Hammond says. "We have grown but we are still the same old Opensouls."

Standing in the Rain has been in the works for about a year, and has been ready for release since January, but the band wanted to take their time with it, especially with making and releasing the music videos.

Of the songs Hammond wrote, she says the lyrics are mostly on the theme of love.

However, only a few of the tracks are based on her own experiences.

She borrows stories from her friends' lives to create the rest although in of Blind to See she neglected to tell the friend the song was inspired by her.

"I realised I write a lot about love, I can't help it I wish I could write something political," she says.

"It's funny I usually tend to write for my mates, they will tell me their stories and that will help create the characters for the song, it's almost like writing a story."

The first single on the album, Hold You Close, is one of Hammond's own stories, a love song written for her boyfriend, which she never expected to be the first single.

Another track inspired by her friends is When You Gonna Stop?

"I wrote that about when you are with your girlfriends getting ready for the night and there is one certain track you listen to while you're putting on your makeup." That was inspired by that."

The band is made of Tyra Hammond on vocals, Jeremy Toy on guitar, Bjorn Peterson on vocals, Julien Dyne on drums, Chip Matthews on bass, Isaac Aesili on the trumpet, and Harlin Davey on MPC.

The Opensouls will be touring their new album around New Zealand through September and October.

NZPA AKL sjk dj

One dead in Waikato crash

Last updated 10:34 30/08/2009

A man is dead and a woman badly injured after a two-car crash on State Highway 2 in northern Waikato this morning.

The accident happened Mangatawhiri, 11km northwest of Maramarua, about 6.30am.

Senior Sergeant Emiel Logan said it appeared the cars were travelling into opposite directions when one ran out of control, crossed the central reservation, and smashed into the other.

He said police were still trying to identify the dead man.

The woman driver was in a serious condition in Auckland's Middlemore Hospital.

Len Brown puts hat in ring for super city mayoralty

1:34PM Sunday Aug 30, 2009

Manukau mayor Len Brown today officially confirmed he will run for the mayoralty of the new Auckland super city council.

He made the announcement at One Tree Hill to a crowd of about 200 people, including ex-Auckland city mayor Dick Hubbard, councillors and South Auckland business people.

Brown spoke of his intentions to stand on TVNZ's Q&A programme this morning, although the Herald's Bernard Orsman broke news of the impending announcement on Thursday.

The only other contender to join the race is Auckland City mayor John Banks.

Brown said today he had decided to run because "the community has been on my back and determined that I should run".

He said the super city needed someone who could reach out to Auckland's diverse communities and felt he was best suited for that job.

"I feel in my heart I have the compassion, commitment and love of the place."

His platform would include designated council seats for Maori, future proofing the transport system, increasing tourism, bettering education in Auckland and "bringing communities together in a way that hasn't been done before".

Suspicious fire at Whangarei museum

7:35AM Saturday Aug 29, 2009


A suspicious fire has "seriously damaged" a building at the Whangarei Museum.

Eight fire crews fought the blaze last night.

Fire Service northern communications shift manager Jaron Phillips said today the building, used for machinery repairs, was well alight when the firefighters arrived.

He said the fire was being treated as suspicious and the cause was still being investigated.


Activists oppose Auckland zoo's elephant plan

Last updated 17:50 30/08/2009
Animals rights activists are opposing plans to increase elephant numbers at the Auckland Zoo following Kashin's death.

The 40-year-old Asian elephant was put down last Monday because of her deteriorating health. She was suffering from arthritis, foot abscesses and skin infections.

Auckland Zoo director Jonathan Wilcken said the zoo hoped to replace Kashin in the next six to 12 months and had long-term plans to extend the elephant area.

"We want to establish a much larger breeding herd of elephants that replicates a natural social structure for elephants," he said.

The zoo would work with the European Elephant Breeding Programme to secure suitable breeding elephants.

However, Saving Animals From Exploitation (SAFE) campaign director Hans Kriek strongly opposed the plan.

He quoted recent research which showed most elephants died considerably earlier in zoos than they would in the wild.

"Kashin is a perfect example. Her problems – arthritis and feet problems – are very common in captive elephants," he said.

"That's one of the main reasons they have to be euthanased – they just don't cope."

If the zoo was acting in remaining elephant Burma's best interests, they would relocate her to an open range zoo where she could have the company of her own kind.

The zoo could the use the space opened up by the elephant exhibitions closure to give a better environment for other animals that were in" relatively cramped spaces", he said.

"Internationally, there are a number of zoos moving away from keeping elephants simply because they realise they cannot provide them with the environment they need.

"An elephant in the wild on average will roam for 50km a day. What sort of a zoo enclosure can come close to that?"

The zoo today offered free admission to mark Kashin's passing, with more than 17,000 taking the chance to visit.

Mr Wilcken said the public was invited to see Kashin's burial spot, an area the elephant loved, which was not usually open to the public.

"We would take her (walking) around the four corners of the zoo and this was a particular area she loved," Mr Wilcken said.


Saturday, August 15, 2009

White Lies success lies with the ladies dominance



Rising indie stars White Lies think they have the ladies to thank for their success this year.

That's according to Charles Cave, bassist and songwriter for the West London indie band, speaking from his hotel room the morning before their Auckland show.

White Lies, comprising Cave, Harry McVeigh, who does lead vocals and guitar, and Jack Lawrence-Brown, who plays drums, are in the middle of their first headlining world tour.

The band was born in 2007, but its members have been playing together since primary school. Previously they played under the name Fear of Flying.

Earlier this year, they released their debut album To Lose My Life after their label, Fiction Records, saw a good thing early on.

With only six songs up their sleeves the band was shipped off to Belgium to record these, and while there, wrote the remaining five songs for their debut.

"Our label and management decided it would be a worthwhile risk to make an album, they felt we were at a point in our lives where we were really excited about making music and we should capitalise on that," Cave said.

The album was released in January this year, and the band was quickly named "ones to watch" in the music press, however, Cave believes their success is in part due to their difference to everything else that has come out recently, particularly the lack of other male bands.

He believes the music industry has been dominated by solo female artists this year.

"(We are) pretty much the only rock band that's come out this year, so I think we've almost had a slightly easier ride than we might have had if it was a year of alternative rock bands, where everyone would be fighting for the crown."

Cave writes all White Lies' songs, starting with the lyrics, which are often described as poetic and dark covering all things from murder, madness, revenge, love from beyond the grave, electro shock therapy and ransoms.

However, he says his words should not be taken as literal.

"People often take everything to be completely word of God. . .They don't know where the person was or what they were doing when they wrote them, what they were feeling, and whether or not it has anything to do with the person that wrote them."

His lyrics do come from personal experience, but it can be in the most trivial way, such as from a sentence someone says to him, or a thought he has had.

For example, one of the band's more epic tracks, Price of Love?, was inspired by a small argument with his girlfriend over money.

The song is about a ransom, and is "like a Cohen brothers movie in the way it's all completely hopeless and everyone ends up so much worse than they started. It's ironic, it's not meant to be super serious," Cave said.

Cave said while the band did not aim to cause offence with its dark themes, they have come to accept they are not a " band that is not going to be on the back of a cornflakes packet, not a family band or PG," and they don't write three minute pop songs.

He recalled having to write a letter to the BBC to convince them their most-known song To Lose My Life was not a" suicide pact song."

While he said the band had sold a "healthy amount" of its debut with three singles, he wants to next album to be twice as good, but with a different sound to the first –he does not want White Lies to be a formulaic band.

"We are still young and have got a lot of things we want to try," he said.

While he can't make any promises to his fans when they will get this next album, he expects it to be out sometime next year.


Monday, August 3, 2009

Heated Discrimination Complaint Resolved

In Unison

Unitec staff who have been picketing and marching through Unitec over what they say is discriminatory treatment from Unitec management have reached an agreement, but some are still not happy.

Allied staff members (staff who do not teach) who are part of the Tertiary Institutes Allied Staff Association (TIASA), were protesting their working conditions offered by Unitec management.

They had been protesting outside Unitec chief executive Rick Ede’s office in the mornings and also staged a march through the grounds of Unitec.
The issue was over the action Unitec took in contract negotiations. In January, non-union staff at Unitec were given a four percent salary increase, which they can negotiate in November, whereas TIASA members were told Unitec would not go beyond a two percent increase and also wanted to remove some conditions. Two weeks ago Unitec then offered a four percent increase but on a 21 month contract, which the union did not agree to.
The final offer, which TIASA agreed to last week, was an 18-month contract with a backdated four percent salary increase, and the opportunity to enter negotiations if over five percent of allied non-union members receive a pay increase on their base salary for the 2010 year.

TIASA member and allied staff representative on the Unitec Council, Kieron Millar says the outcome required both sides to compromise.

“I think what was offered required movement from both sides and really neither side is completely comfortable with where we ended up.

“Members decided it was probably better to take a bird in hand at this stage.”

He felt the march through the Unitec grounds and the morning picketing outside Dr Ede’s office was effective.

“We certainly sent a clear message to Rick and his management team that we weren’t prepared to lie down, that we did have a voice and were passionate about equity in the workplace.”

A big sentiment through the union members during the negotiations was that Unitec was trying to break the union.

“The feeling was that allied staff in TIASA were getting picked on,” he says.

“If you look at what happened through the negotiation process it could be perceived as being quite anti-unionist,” Mr Millar says.

A TIASA member who wishes to remain anonymous also felt the action was anti-union and the offer agreed to was not good enough.

She felt the union was made to reach the compromise because of other factors weighing on them, such as the economic crisis and public perception of unions.
“People are of the opinion you should be thankful you’ve got a job,” she says.

She says there were a significant number of people who voted against the offer.

“It’s not equity. The purpose of the union is to make sure the members are looked after first and all other individual contracts should follow on from the union negotiations.

“We have compromised where perhaps Unitec have not been so willing to compromise.

“We’ve done a favour to Unitec but that is nothing new. It is always on the backs of employees that these institutions survive.”

Unitec did not respond to In Unison’s questions, only stating that “Unitec is pleased to have reached an agreement with TIASA. If staff affected have any questions, then they are advised to approach their Human Resource representative or contact Chief Executive, Rick Ede.”

Family Violence - Make It Your Problem

Last week, I had a black eye and a graze on my chin, to emulate a person affected by family violence.

While I got to wash my bruises off at the end of the day and go back to my violence-free life, the reality for thousands of New Zealanders each week is the opposite.

Family violence is a huge criminal problem in New Zealand and all the people spoken to in this article want you to make it your problem that you do something about.

The facts call for change; half of all murders in New Zealand are at the hands of someone the victim knows, and every six minutes police are called to a family violence incident.

Family Violence; how bad is it?family-violence1

To get a real feeling for what I was writing about, I took to the streets of Auckland Central, Newmarket and Mount Albert with a black eye and a graze to my chin (done with special effects makeup) to see how people would react, and to see how it felt to be a walking victim for a day.

I had many one-on-one encounters with people in shops and on the street, but no one said a thing. Some people looked at me then clearly looked away, others avoided eye-contact, and it took longer than usual for some shop assistants to assist me.

While I did not have any clear expectations of what this experiment would entail, I thought that at least one person might ask me about the bruises, even in passing. If I were a man, sporting a black eye, I’m sure reactions would be different.

I went to a travel agent and had a conversation about the prices in the window. I went to the Karen Walker store in Newmarket, and as the only customer in the store, the assistants looked uncomfortable but still endeavoured to show me their latest look-book. I even asked about eye-makeup at the Body Shop which, ironically, is doing a campaign on the anti-smacking referendum, yet they had no comments about my face.

I am certain that as soon as I left stores, or walked past people together on the street, they would have talked about the young lady with the bruised face.

Family violence often happens behind closed doors and the evidence, as in facial bruising, is kept hidden until it’s healed. I’m sure my blatant exhibition of my injuries made many people feel uncomfortable, but it really did make me question why no one asked if I was ok.

I started to understand the sense of shame some victims may feel about being bruised and beaten by the person who is meant to love them, especially when no one else I passed on the streets was sporting bruises. I wondered what people were thinking of me; were they wondering who did this? If I was beaten by a partner, had I left them, and if not, why?

Staying with an abusive partner is something I grappled to understand, so I asked the Auckland City Police District’s family violence coordinator, Detective Senior Sergeant Vaughn Graham, why someone would stay in a relationship where they were being hurt; he believes there are many reasons.

He notes that relationships will rarely start out violent, but it is something that will happen over time, after trust has been built up.

“They are sort of wooed into that relationship - not coerced and forced into it straight away. It’s not always an apparent trap, it’s a slow problem they find themselves in, and then they don’t have tools to get themselves back out.”

The Auckland City District Police have a dedicated team to deal with family violence incidents. On average the police will attend 5000 callouts a year. However, this is only the tip of the iceberg; research shows this is only 10 to 15 percent of cases of family violence out there.

This is because there is a stigma that is stopping people from speaking out and asking for help.

This might be because it is too hard for a victim to admit they are in a bad situation, or it could be the fact that they don’t have the ability or know-how to ask for help, Graham says.

Then there is the fear.

“Offenders will often trap victims, (they will) isolate them. As easy as it is for other people to call the police and ask for help, some people are quite often too scared to.”

Graham sees a range of people; sometimes they are a first time incident, which he says is fortunate because they can intervene early to prevent it from happening again, or they may be people the police have seen again and again.

However, family violence does not discriminate by culture, religion or socio-economic standing.

The criminal process – here to help

The Auckland City District Police give top-priority to family violence callouts because of the safety concerns. The police usually arrive within ten minutes of receiving the call, and will investigate the matter and gain statements from the victim and any witnesses.

They need to work on the basis that the complainant will, at some stage, be reluctant to participate in the prosecution process because of the nature and relationship they share with the offender, so they will speak to neighbours, other witnesses, as well as the victim and also use the 111 calls as evidence.

They also try to get information from the families involved. Graham says this can go either way: some families are really supportive while others are very protective, despite some horrific things happening in the families.

Neighbours are usually good independent witnesses, who can provide good evidence. The problem is sometimes this evidence comes too late.

Nia Glassie for example.

The police collect all the evidence and, if they are satisfied an offence has been committed, they will arrest the offender, charge them, then hold them in custody to appear in court the next morning, where they will usually be bailed with the condition they have no contact with the victim.

Whenever there is an arrest, advocates from Shine, an Auckland family violence victim support group, which works closely with the police, will go to the home to see the victim while the perpetrator is in custody. They will talk the victim through the court process, help them determine a plan to keep safe in the future and arrange a lawyer and refuge if needed. This will take an hour to an hour and a half, and Shine does about 20 of these a week.

After the initial bailout, there is a three week wait until the offender appears in the Auckland Family Violence Court. This allows them time to engage a lawyer and get copies of all the police evidence. This court is usually presided over by Judge Lex de Jong.

This court is one of six in the country, the courts were set up with the purpose of getting both the victim and the offender the help they need.

Sentences can range from making the offender attend a stopping violence programme – to teach them to live without violence, through to serving time in prison.

De Jong says that with the establishment of these courts, there has been a huge turnaround in people’s guilty pleas in family violence cases. Before these courts it was about 80 percent pleading not guilty, now it is about 80 percent pleading guilty.

At their first appearance at this court the offender will enter their plea. If it is a guilty plea for a first time offence of low-level violence, such as pushing or hitting on the shoulder, de Jong says they will give the offender the chance to be discharged without conviction, but they must work for it.

They will have to go to a stopping violence programme and often alcohol and drug counselling, because about 90 percent of the attacks happen when the offender is on drugs or alcohol. Most stopping violence programmes last for 20 weeks, and the court monitors the offender’s progress.

They will go back to court after about 12 weeks with a letter from the programme provider to make sure they are attending, and then the third and final court appearance will happen when they have finished the programme, and they will tell the judge what they learnt from the programme. As long as they have no other convictions in that time, they attend all the counselling sessions, and the victim does not complain again, they will be discharged without conviction.

However, when it comes to serious incidents, there will be a conviction and the offender will also have to attend the stopping violence programmes. Some offenders will be supervised for a maximum of two years, depending on the problems.

De Jong says this is a “last ditch effort get them to address problems.”

He notes that the majority of people are going to reconcile with their partners, so the court needs to find ways for the offender to rehabilitate because often the victim will either say they want their partner to change, that they still love them, or feels safe and wants them to come home.

I go along to one of the Family Violence Court list days.

An assortment of people come draping in and out of the court; some look dishevelled, lacking in sleep with bloodshot eyes, wearing scruffy clothes, while others are in crisp shirts and clean suits. Many look morose.

A 23-year-old Paheka man is called forward. His mother is in the gallery to support him and we learn that his partner, who he assaulted, is outside with his step-son. He is enrolled in a drug and alcohol counselling programme and relationship counselling.

De Jong tells him he is responsible to set a good example for his child, as the child will follow what he does.

He acknowledges the man’s guilty plea, and tells him the court is here to support him, not punish him.

Later, a Middle Eastern man, here on a work permit with his family, was spoken to through an interpreter. He has completed the stopping violence course for a “single slap” and has since reconciled with his wife with who he shares a child of 14 months.

De Jong asks him what he learnt through the programme.

“I have learnt to control my anger and to use different methods to calm down and also to find alternatives to get out of a situation.”

De Jong discharges him without conviction but says if it happens again, he will be treated in a very different way.

“The responsibility rests on your shoulders.”

Next, a Maori man named Marsh, who appears to be in his 30s, is in front of de Jong seeking bail. He denies the assault he has been arrested for on the weekend. However, he has nine pages of prior convictions. The man looks enraged as the complaint is read out.

Marsh is accused of driving over the Harbour Bridge, with his partner and father in the car, swerving over the road and threatening to drive off the side of the bridge to kill them.

In the process, he allegedly punched his partner twice in the mouth, struck her with a screwdriver, kicked her in the back, and strangled her until she lost consciousness.

He is also accused of climbing through the woman’s window, and assaulting her while she was in bed.

While Marsh denies the accusations, de Jong says the police have photographic evidence of the woman’s injuries.

De Jong rules that Marsh is too high of a risk to the victim in this case, so is further remanded in custody.

Changing views

The emphasis the criminal system now places on the seriousness of family violence is clear and, as recent research shows, society is catching on.

This newfound concern can, in part, be attributed to the Campaign for Action on Family Violence which includes the It’s Not OK! campaign - best known for its effective ads that have played on TV since 2007. The campaign aims to increase visibility, understanding and personal relevance of family violence and to get people to act on it.

Campaign manager Gael Surgenor says the campaign is about making family violence everyone’s business, and she feels this has been successful.

A survey conducted last October, to look at the effectiveness of this campaign, found 95 percent of respondents recalled seeing the ads and over two thirds said they understood more about family violence because of this, and had discussed the issue. 20 percent of the respondents had taken some sort of action, such as talking to family or friends about violence they were worried about; this number was doubled for Maori and pacific respondents.

Last year the emphasis was on getting the message across that family violence is never OK, this year they will be focusing on asking for help, and how to give help.

“One thing we have discovered, as the campaign has gone along, is people do want to help and do want to intervene but they are not sure how to.

“A lot of it is promoting ideas that it is acceptable to do it (get involved). If you did see someone with a black eye, or you did hear something, instead of thinking ‘that’s not my business I’m not going to do anything,’ think ‘I am going to do something.’”

Surgenor points to the recent Sophie Elliott case as a good example of people close to the victim and perpetrator not recognising family violence.

“A lot of the signs that she was in danger were there but no one recognised them because people don’t know them. If we came to a situation where most people acted when they suspected something, we would save lives.”

She says a key thing is to keep offering to help people if you are worried about them.

“When someone dies, whether it’s a child like Nia Glassie or an adult like Sophie Elliott there are always people who knew something was going on but they didn’t do anything about it because they didn’t realise how serious it was.”

The Campaign for Action on Family Violence has put out a book of family violence survivors’ true stories. The themes are obvious throughout; all eight writers had abusive parents, which in turn, led them to either becoming abusive to their partners and children, or end up in abusive relationships. However, all the stories detail the changes the writers make in their lives, and their violence-free outcomes. All of the writers end up in health or social-work related careers, using their experiences to help others. All stories describe the different forms of family violence- it’s not just physical, but can be sexual, emotional, financial, and psychological.

In one of the stories, George writes about his extremely violent mother. “She’d strip us naked and send us outside to get a stick from the hedge. She’d tell us the dimensions of the stick she wanted, and we’d have to go outside in full view of the street and our friends and get one from the hedge in front of the house.” This kind of abuse followed him into his adult life, where he also beat his wife. However, he took a stopping violence course, and now lectures at a university and has been violence-free since 1993.

Lorri writes her physically and sexually abusive childhood set her up “to be a walking target.” She ran away from home, was put in juvenile detention, and also got into abusive relationships. Because of her experiences she decided to set up a women’s refuge. She sums up what has become apparent in every story; “our culture doesn’t respect children and we are abusive towards them, and then as adults they get their own back on their parents and so the generational abuse continues. It is abuse – whether it is sexual, emotional, physical, financial or psychological. We continue to act it out one way or the other.”

Why you should

While my personal experience left me disheartened, as Surgenor says, it will take time for people to start acting on what they see.

Unitec graduate Jill Proudfoot is the client services director at Shine and also says that everyone should care because family violence affects the whole society, not just the people involved, as the campaign stories show.

“If we have a violent-free society it benefits everybody. For example if children grow up in violent homes they are much more likely to become violent, flaunt the law themselves in various ways, it’s a huge cost to our society not only the human cost but the financial cost…so everyone needs to care.”

Detective Senior Sergeant Vaughn Graham says family violence “really strikes at the heart of morals and who we are as a community and nation really.

“If you argue on the side of ‘it’s not our problem’ then you need to look back on our morals…would you really say ‘it’s not my problem?’” asks Graham.


What to do if you need help, or suspect someone else does.

Call the Police: 111

Are You Ok?: 0800 456 450

Auckland Women’s Refuge: 09 378 7635

Shine: 0508 DVHELP (384 357)

Ex-Unitec Student Hacks Unitec Website

In Unison
An ex-international Unitec student recently hacked into the Unitec website in protest of not being allowed back into New Zealand.

The hacker, who goes by the online name Hieupc posted a message on July 20 saying he was an international student at Unitec but didn’t get to finish his degree because his visa renewal was denied.

The Unitec website was down for two days and then on July 24 he hacked into the Auckland University website.

Hieupc, who had been studying the English language at Unitec from May until December last year, told In Unison he hacked into the sites to get his message across, stating he was set-up for fraud by a Chinese flatmate.

Hieupc says the flatmate set him up for credit card fraud, by using his TradeMe account and bank account to sell tickets he had bought with stolen credit card details.

When the fraud was linked back to Hieupc, his bank account and TradeMe accounts were closed, and the police started an investigation into the credit card fraud. By this point, the flatmate had left Auckland, and Hieupc could not contact him.

“Next days, that was terrible days for me. I couldn’t imagine that happened to me. I was so scared and I don’t want to go to a jail. I want to continue my study but it’s impossible,” Hieupc says.

He and his sister refunded the money to the TradeMe buyers which he says cost him dearly.

He says he then went back to Vietnam to take care of his sick mother in the term break, and when he went to renew his visa to come back to New Zealand, it was denied.

“That’s the end of my life, my future.”

However, a spokesperson for TradeMe and a festival organiser who was caught up in the fraud believed Hieupc admitted to the fraud.

Chris Budge, TradeMe’s Trust and Safety Manager confirmed TradeMe investigators spoke to Hieupc and his sister over the issue at the time.

He said that stolen credit cards were used to buy tickets online from Ticketek and Ticketmaster.

When the charges for the tickets came up on people’s balances, they got in touch with their banks, the tickets were cancelled and the money refunded to the card owners. It was up to Hieupc and his sister to refund the money to the TradeMe members. If they had not, a criminal complaint against Hieupc would have been considered, Mr Budge says.

Hieupc was also accused of using stolen credit cards to buy tickets for the New Years festival Phat 09.

The festival organiser Dave White says Hieupc used stolen Amex credit card numbers bought overseas to purchase Phat09 tickets. When the organisers were told about it they tracked the numbers and cancelled the tickets.

Mr White said it was a situation where everyone involved lost out.

In regards to the hacking, Hieupc says he was surprised at how easy it was to hack into the Unitec site, criticising its security levels. He found a bug on the site, and then hacked into the server.

A Unitec spokesperson said this was the first time since the websites inception in 1998 that a security breach of this sort has occurred.

Unitec responded by upgrading the current level of security to ensure there is no further re-occurrence.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Search and Rescue look for overdue hunters

Sun, 02 Aug 2009 10:42a.m.

A search and rescue team is preparing to look for two hunters overdue in the Ikawhenua Ranges, south-west of Whakatane.

Sergeant Andrew O'Reilly, of Whakatane police, said the two men pig hunting in the hills did not show up at their meeting point overnight.

At this point, Mr O'Reilly said the police were "erring on the side of caution".

He said it would have been cold in the ranges overnight, but the weather was otherwise good.

He believed both hunters were experienced and one was a former Department of Conservation officer.


Men take to heels in name of charity

Sun, 02 Aug 2009 3:44p.m.
Teams of Auckland hospitality workers switched their aprons for heels and wigs to race along Sale Street to raise money for Kids Can today. The race, called a Heel-A-Thon, was to raise money for the up-coming Kids Can Telethon Big Night In.

It saw the men strap on some heels, and in many cases, wigs and dresses, while the women donned their favourite heels to try outrun other competitors in the 50 metre run.

Eighteen teams from the hospitality industry entered the event at a cost of $250 each, which goes to the charity.

Teams from wineries, venues and food and beverage suppliers took part.

There was a higher turn-out of men in the race and many took the opportunity to dress in drag, including Cam Timmins from The Village in Remuera.

Mr Timmins worn a blonde wig, fake breasts, pink singlet and leopard print skirt, along with pink lipstick.

He said he decided to take part because he thought it was a good opportunity for hospitality to give back to the community and help children who are going to school hungry.

He also developed some empathy for women who wear heels. "I don't know how you girls do it," he said.

Luke Dallow, owner of the Sale Street bar, which organised the event, said it was his chance to give back to the community because "as a bar, we take a lot".


Protesters summon Paula Bennett

Saturday Aug 1

About a dozen protesters faced the rain today to stick a summons on Social Development Minister Paula Bennett's door.

The protest, organised by Socialist Aotearoa was over National's cutting of the Training Incentive Allowance (TIA) and Ms Bennett's revealing of beneficiaries' private information.

Ms Bennett has been under fire this week for revealing the welfare payment details of two solo mothers, on benefits, who complained about the Government's decision to scrap the TIA.

The mothers said without it they would not be able to continue courses which would help them get jobs.

The protesting group, a coalition of community, disabled and trade union groups, was at Ms Bennett's West Auckland office today.

"We think it's disgraceful that people are trying to scapegoat on the poor and the unemployed and single mothers for the problems in society," said Socialist Aotearoa member Joe Carolan.

"We are in a huge economic crisis at the moment where 50,000 people are going to lose their jobs so we need more support and more training for the unemployed in this period.

"To see the National party cutting back on these programmes to help people get off the DPB and advance themselves is shocking," he said

Single mother Jane Ferguson, who is studying to get a degree in sociology, said she was at the protest to stand up for beneficiaries.

"As a single parent and a student myself I know how hard it is to try and complete some training. We need all the help we can get, not to be yet again discriminated against by the Government."

She said the cut would mean she would not have money for travel, text books and it would affect her ability to afford childcare.

"It's going to significantly affect my ability to keep studying."

Ms Ferguson said she would keep studying regardless, but it would be "incredibly difficult."

The summons, stuck on to Ms Bennett's door, called for her to attend a hearing of "the people's court" to defend her actions in cutting the TIA and revealing the personal information of the two beneficiaries.

The hearing is set for next Saturday, at her office.


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Road rage attacker had history of violent behaviour

odt, newstin

A man who yesterday pleaded guilty to manslaughter after a road rage attack three months ago is said to have a history of picking on those more vulnerable.

Bio O'Brien, 28, a student from the tiny Pacific nation of Tuvalu, yesterday pleaded guilty in Auckland District Court to the manslaughter of Jasmatbhai Patel, 78.

Mr Patel, a van driver, was attacked by O'Brien after what police called a "minor crash" with his BMW on April 7 in Carrington Road, Mt Albert, outside Unitec, where O'Brien studied.

Mr Patel was admitted to Auckland Hospital but died the following day.

O'Brien admitted the manslaughter charge after he and his lawyer worked through all the documents in the crown case.

A woman who knew O'Brien well through the Tuvaluan community told the Unitec student magazine In Unison, she was not surprised when she first heard of the assault.

The 21-year-old, who goes by the name Latoya, said: "I knew that was coming, I had a feeling. He's got a real temper on him."

Latoya has known O'Brien for about 10 years. She says "he's the type of guy that is really creepy.

"He comes across as really cocky ... He used to get drunk and start trouble wherever, and whenever. He's not a nice guy."

She said in the Tuvaluan youth community all the girls knew him as a "wannabe player", and so avoided him.

Due to an experience she had with O'Brien when she was younger, Latoya believed he was "the type of guy to beat up women".

He was a "cocky, forceful guy only to people he knows are vulnerable and weak".

O'Brien was studying first year engineering at Unitec at the time of the attack.

However, since the guilty plea, a Unitec spokesperson told In Unison that he had been un-enrolled.

"Bio O'Brien is no longer enrolled as a Unitec student due to his inability to attend classes.

"In general, students who are unable to attend classes will be withdrawn from their programme when the institute is made aware of changes to their personal circumstances that prevent them from attending."

O'Brien was remanded in custody until sentencing in the High Court at Auckland on September 29.

Today, a post on news website by a person claiming to be a relative of Bio O'Brien apologised to the Patel family.

"I fully understand the hurt and anger Mr Patel's family is feeling and will always feel towards Mr O'Brien," the writer said.

"I know that at this moment, no words expressed by us, the family or anyone else would relieve the anguish and despite what has been said about Mr O'Brien's family's lack of sympathy, we did and always will.

"We are humans after all, and empathetic enough to understand their sadness."

The writer said that since the attack, the O'Brien family had been legally advised to not contact the Patel family, which they had wanted to do.

They said O'Brien had always intended to plead guilty to manslaughter, they said.

"He says he wants to remember his guilt always for his role in the death of another human being, however small it may be."

The case dragged on because he refused to admit to the prosecution's summary of facts that stated he had "punched the old man with closed fists" in accordance to eyewitness reports.

Both the defence and Crown's pathologists' reports stated that there were no marks on his face, head, neck, or body that could be attributed to a blow or blows, the writer said.

"So we the family questioned the prosecution's facts and demanded an inclusion of the pathologist's evidence to suit the scientific facts. It was then changed to `strike', not punched."

Killer's mother-in-law defends his character


The man who this week admitted killing another man in an Auckland road rage incident has been portrayed unfairly, according to his mother-in-law.

Bio O'Brien, 28, a student from the tiny Pacific nation of Tuvalu, pleaded guilty in Auckland District Court on Tuesday to the manslaughter of Jasmatbhai Patel, 78.

Patel, who was driving a van, was attacked by O'Brien after what police called a "minor crash" with his BMW on April 7 in Mt Albert.

Patel was admitted to Auckland Hospital but died the following day, and his family say there has been no apology and appeared to be no remorse from O'Brien since the "vicious" attack.

O'Brien's mother-in-law, Saria Tufala, disagreed and said there was remorse - something which was reflected in the guilty plea.

But she said she disputed some of the prosecution's summary about O'Brien repeatedly punching Patel.

"They were both denying responsibility over who caused the accident but Bio knew that his car was damaged and it was a BMW so he wanted Mr Patel to have a look at it, but he refused to," she said.

Tufala said O'Brien had responded by grabbing Patel by the shirt and pushing him.

She refused to talk about O'Brien's history or character, but admitted it would be good for him to "learn lessons" in jail.

She believed O'Brien had been portrayed in an unfair light, and had not "violently, brutally or physically assaulted Mr Patel".

"If he was so brutal, why are there no records like that of him in the islands or here?"

When asked about how her daughter was coping, she said thoughts went to the Patel family, as they would be feeling worse.

"Justice has been served for Mr Patel," she said.

A woman who knew O'Brien well through the Tuvaluan community told the Unitec student magazine In Unison, she was not surprised when she first heard of the assault.

The 21-year-old, who goes by the name Latoya, said: "I knew that was coming, I had a feeling.

He's got a real temper on him."

Latoya has known O'Brien for about 10 years. She says "he's the type of guy that is really creepy.

"He comes across as really cocky ... He used to get drunk and start trouble wherever, and whenever. He's not a nice guy."

She said in the Tuvaluan youth community all the girls knew him as a "wannabe player", and so avoided him.

O'Brien was studying first year engineering at Unitec at the time of the attack.

However, since the guilty plea, a Unitec spokesperson told In Unison that he had been un-enrolled.

"Bio O'Brien is no longer enrolled as a Unitec student due to his inability to attend classes.

O'Brien was remanded in custody until sentencing in the High Court at Auckland on September 29

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Police find stolen car linked to robberies

Police have found the stolen car believed to be connected to armed robberies in the Bay of Plenty, but are still looking for the trio of robbers who were disguised with Casper the Ghost masks.

Detective Senior Sergeant Greg Turner said they found the black Nissan Skyline coup taken from Mount Maunganui College on Friday morning, at about 3pm yesterday in bush on Trig Road North at Waihi, about 5kms from Waihi.

It was found in a semi-remote area by members of the public and police were keen to talk to anyone who may have been in the area between 1pm and 3pm yesterday.

The car was now undergoing a forensic examination.

It was difficult to identify the robbers because of their disguises, Mr Turner said.

Police did know they were three males of medium build and one was Caucasian.

" (They had) been disguised with a Casper the Ghost type white polystyrene mask - a roundish white plastic or polystyrene full face mask, something a kid would wear at Halloween."

They also wore hooded sweatshirts and dark coloured trousers, Mr Turner said.

A Te Puke jewellery store was robbed about 11.30am on Friday, followed by the Kati Kati Paper Plus store at 2.25pm, when three disguised offenders with a sawn-off shotgun stole a small amount of cash.

Mr Turner said it is still too early to link them the robberies to a recent spate of robberies in Waikato.

Anyone who had seen people in a Nissan Skyline acting suspiciously, or the abandoned Skyline in the Waihi area should contact Tauranga police on (07) 577 4300 or 0800 SPEAKUP.


Suspicious fire at Hastings school


Police are investigating a suspicious fire that was lit at Hastings Boys' High School early today.

Senior Sergeant Greg Bradshaw of Hastings police said there were two other fires lit in the area overnight, which were believed to be related.

"At roughly 12.30 this morning the caretaker at the boy's high school was woken by fire alarms on the property.

"He went and found the tuck shop was ablaze and made sterling efforts to fight the fire himself and he pretty well kept it under control until the fire service got there."

Mr Bradshaw said there was "moderate damage" done to the canteen and the blaze was being treated as suspicious.

He said no one was hurt, as no one was in the tuck-shop at the time "apart from the bad guys".

Hastings Fire Station Officer Mike Manning said three appliances attended the fire about 1am.


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