Tag Archives: extraordinary

‘Very generous’: The Pūkaha Forest now belongs to the people of Aotearoa New Zealand | Instant News

The Pūkaha Forest was presented to the residents of Aotearoa New Zealand by Rangitāne iwi in a ceremony on Saturday. Photo / Steve Carle

The Pūkaha Forest now belongs to the residents of New Zealand after being gifted by the Rangitāne iwi over the weekend.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern attended a gift-giving ceremony at the Pūkaha National Wildlife Center, near Mount Bruce, on Saturday where 942 hectares of native forest – home to native birds and important conservation work – were awarded to the nation.

The forest was returned to Rangitāne o Tamaki Nui a Rua and Rangitāne o Wairarapa as part of a collective agreement finalized in 2017. Photo / Steve Carle
The forest was returned to Rangitāne o Tamaki Nui a Rua and Rangitāne o Wairarapa as part of a collective agreement finalized in 2017. Photo / Steve Carle

The forest was returned to Rangitāne o Tamaki Nui a Rua and Rangitāne o Wairarapa as part of the settlement of the Mutual Agreement which was completed in 2017.

Former chairman of the Rangitāne Tū Mai Rā Trust Jason Kerehi described it as “taonga to Rangitāne” and “the foundation [their] identity”.

The Korowai given to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will now hang in Parliament to mark the gift-giving ceremony.  Photo / Steve Carle
The Korowai given to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will now hang in Parliament to mark the gift-giving ceremony. Photo / Steve Carle

Ardern described the gift of forests to New Zealand as “very generous”.

A korowai given to him during the ceremony will now hang in Parliament to mark the day – exactly 10 years after the rare white kiwi, Manukura, hatched in the middle.


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Epicurious food site drops beef recipes, citing climate change Food & Cooking | Instant News

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Livestock accounts for nearly 15% of total global greenhouse gas emissions, and beef is the largest contributor to this pollution, according to the United Nations.

Publication has been moving in this direction for nearly two years. Since fall 2019, Epicurious has published beef recipes “only a few times,” its editor at separate post answer questions about the decision.

A quick search on the site shows that the site has also been offering readers suggestions for beef alternatives for some time: For St. Patrick, for example, is a writer suggested to “skip the corned beef” for the potato stuffed cabbage pie. And for Easter this year, the editor compiled a list of 45 main course alternatives to brisket, including chicken, fish and vegetarian options.

Epicurious says readers are attracted by this kind of non-beef content.


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Queenstown tourism operator is ‘ready and watching’ news of the COVID-19 case, the development of NZ travel bubble | Instant News

As New Zealand’s health authorities race to track COVID-19 cases in Auckland, tourism operators hoping to “bring Australians” this ski season say they are nervous, but always ready to adapt.

Local business leaders in Queenstown say the city has been hit for the greater good during the pandemic and if the travel bubble doesn’t burst, Australians will be a very welcome addition over the winter.

And to attract large crowds to Queenstown, ski fields must be opened.

After the new cases were announced, NZ Ski chief executive Paul Anderson said he was always ready to adjust preparations at The Remarkables, Coronet Peak and Mt Hutt ski fields.

“We would be ridiculous expecting that we would sail all season without any disruption,” he said.

“It’s our dream, but reality will be something a little different.”

Anderson said as someone who runs a business that relies on moving people across countries and international borders, he was “very relieved” when the bubble was announced three weeks ago.

But given the ongoing uncertainty, he was “ready and watching.” announcements like the one yesterday afternoon.

“Yes, there are risks, but we are ready to face whatever happens,” he said.

“We should expect the unexpected.”

Tourism in Queenstown is being crushed by New Zealand’s COVID-19 strategy. Operators now rely on strong winters. (

ABC News: Emily Clark


Queenstown Chamber of Commerce chief executive Ruth Stokes said the city was really suffering when COVID-19 restrictions were put in place and any developments would be closely watched.

Ski season 2021

Mr Anderson said the slopes were coming for a good winter and he hopes to see “our friends over the trenches”.

Coronet Peak
Under the alert level two protocol, there will be social distancing enforced in lift queues. (

ABC News: Emily Clark


The New Zealand government has said traveling in a bubble is a case of “flyer beware” and conditions can change rapidly, but Queenstown ski fields have been operating at level two of alert during the pandemic and are preparing to do so again.

New Zealand is currently under a level one alert protocol, and on ski fields involving physical distancing at several spots, masks on shuttle buses from Queenstown and car parks, as well as many hand sanitizers.

At level two, physical distancing in lift lines and in chairlifts will apply, as well as seating service in restaurants and possible capacity restrictions.

Coronet Peak Slope
Coronet Peak operators are preparing for a better ski season from 2020, but they do not expect visitor numbers to return to pre-COVID-19 levels. (

ABC News: Emily Clark


For those considering booking a trip to Queenstown, the operator has a few tips.

If you’re not traveling with children and are flexible with dates, consider booking outside of school holidays.

With the choice of travel destinations still very limited, the ski fields are likely to accommodate more domestic tourists, as well as those traveling abroad in the bubble, so pay attention to school holiday dates in New Zealand too.

Operators are waiting for Australians, and snow.

The season usually starts in early June, but if travelers want to increase their chances of getting some good snow, the locals’ advice is to come in August and see the mid-winter weather.

Paul Anderson
Ski NZ chief Paul Anderson said while he was “ready and watching” the COVID-19 announcement, he had learned to expect the unexpected.

And in terms of when to order and what offers Australians might be able to get, it is immediately obvious.

Ms Stokes said the advertisement would be “very aggressive”.

“With our first mover advantage, we are very aware that Australians cannot go anywhere else,” he said.

“And we know New Zealand is usually available to Australians, but we really want to take advantage of all that we have to offer.”

For winter lovers

The view from Coronet Peak
While waiting for winter, Queenstown ski field operators are looking for specialist workers who typically follow seasons around the world. (

ABC News: Emily Clark


Ms Stokes said Queenstown needed freelancing for the coming winter and anyone looking to work in the city had to “seriously think about it”.

“We are a work force that really needs casual workers,” he said.

“Any of your young people who are thinking of doing OE (overseas experience) and they want to live, work and play here in Queenstown, as well as professional service, we are a great place with lots of opportunities.”

Destination Queenstown chief executive Ann Lockhart said there were “lots of jobs available”.

“It would be ideal for us to come and have the season here,” he said.

On the ski fields, there is a demand for people with special skills, especially snow sports instructors, snow nurses and food and beverage workers behind the house.

For Australians chasing winter, Anderson said the bubble opened up opportunities to do what they used to do.

“We were just getting ready to go. Last year when we opened, the locals were very grateful to be able to get on here and do something normal,” said Anderson.

“So yeah, get out there and do something normal and something extraordinary.

The Remarkables
Operators from The Remarkables (pictured), Coronet Peak and Mt Hutt ski fields said they were “very relieved” when the travel bubble opened. (

ABC News: Emily Clark



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ISTEP Fund Helps Local Producers Expand Exports to UK, Brazil, Mexico | Instant News

ISTEP Fund Helps Local Producers Expand Exports to UK, Brazil, Mexico | RiverBender.com


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‘Incredible’ – New Zealand war hero Bert Hansen’s handwritten manuscript from World War I found | Instant News

Kath and Stan Hansen have found a stack of letters and documents belonging to Stan Bert’s father, who was a Kiwi war hero from World War I. Video / Dean Purcell

Stan Hansen waited 80 years to open the brown suitcase tucked away at the top of his parents’ wardrobe that keeps a written history of his father’s war years.

The recorded memories of veteran Bert Hansen’s seven months as a German prisoner in Belgium during World War I are too painful to pass up while still alive.

“My father would not talk about war even if he appeared in it,” said Hansen.

But the deep memory of Stan’s childhood is that of his father’s whining from exposure to mustard gas: “he just coughed, coughed, coughed.”

With Stan having only a “vague consciousness” that grew out of his father’s experiences as a prisoner of war, the brown suitcase takes on a kind of mythological meaning.

“It’s in the wardrobe in their bedroom and it’s absolutely no no. We kids are not allowed to come near it,” said the 88-year-old.

“The first time I touched the bag, I was actually pictured with my dad in Christchurch as a kid aged 3, with my dad carrying my suitcase.

“It will be 80 years [since] I have the opportunity to touch it, because it is sacred. “

After Bert Hansen’s death in 1951 at the age of 53, the suitcase belonged to his youngest son, Arthur, who for his own reasons kept its contents a secret.

“He’s a tough guy to deal with at the best of times,” said Stan of his younger brother.

“The saddest part for me was that while growing up, my oldest brother, Jim, who should have been the right person to at least read the memoirs, died without seeing him.

“We know there is something valuable enough for my father on the top shelf in the cupboard in his bedroom.”

A postcard sent to Bert Hansen in the 1920s from a priest who lived near the site of the Kiwi escape.  Photo / Dean Purcell
A postcard sent to Bert Hansen in the 1920s from a priest who lived near the site of the Kiwi escape. Photo / Dean Purcell

With Arthur’s death in January this year, the brown suitcase was finally accessible to Stan and his remaining older sisters.

Stan’s daughter, Sue, said she could barely stand from her shock when the suitcase was finally opened at their Point Chevalier home.

Inside is a 109-page handwritten manuscript detailing his father’s arrest at age 22 in northeastern France, at Meteren on April 16, 1918, during the German Spring Offensive.

Bert was able to escape twice from the prison hospital where he was and was protected by Belgian underground resistance until the Armistice took effect on November 11, 1918.

Stan’s wife, Kath, was as stunned by the document as her husband.

“[It was a record] about his gruesome adventures from the day he was arrested until the Armistice, “he said.

“During that time he was in six different prisons in France or Belgium, almost dying, as did hundreds of others in those prisons. He escaped twice, and I understand he is the only Kiwi soldier who escaped twice from detention. Germany in the West. Home. “

Kath and Stan Hansen for finding countless letters and documents belonging to Stan Bert's father, a Kiwi war hero.  Photo / Dean Purcell
Kath and Stan Hansen for finding countless letters and documents belonging to Stan Bert’s father, a Kiwi war hero. Photo / Dean Purcell

Perhaps even more interesting in this case is Bert’s post-war correspondence with French citizens who helped him during his imprisonment and escape.

“The most interesting thing is a lot of French documents. Most of them are letters,” said Kath.

“It seems that in 1924 and 25 he corresponded with local residents in and around the church where he made his first escape. The parish priest at the time sent him three postcards of this church, which had been turned into a victim cleaning station.”

A translation of a postcard sent to Bert in 1924 from a pastor named A. Guidon at St Peter’s Church in Chains in Leuze-en-Hainaut, West Belgium, provides an overview of the type of correspondence.

“You will find annexed a card (interior view) of our church converted into a prison (as you know),” Guidon wrote in French to Bert.

“Despite the fact that the Germans wanted to hide your escape, we are well aware of it. One of the men who gave you the food (which we offered) gave us assurance about your disappearance.

“Would you be kind enough to tell us if there were any civilians involved in your escape. Who gave you civilian clothes? Who protected you? If someone really helped you, we’d be happy to respect that.”

Bert Hansen's 109-page manuscript.  Photo / Dean Purcell
Bert Hansen’s 109-page manuscript. Photo / Dean Purcell

Fr. Guidon ended by asking Bert to send him some New Zealand stamps for his collection.

Kath said she intends to write her own book over the next two years, including manuscripts and various other correspondence found in the briefcase.

He believes Bert planned to do the same in the 1920s before the project was put on hold.

Bert has described in a 1919 article the hunger and forced labor he endured during the seven month cycle of arrest, flee, arrest and flee in France and Belgium.

“As I went through all these papers, I got the impression Bert might have gathered information other than his own story because he was going to write something better and bigger,” said Kath.

“In the last few pages I found about three or four little notes on the side that reinforce my theory that he was actually going to write something else.”

Bert Hansen, center, in Europe during World War I. The photo confused his family.  Photo / Dean Purcell
Bert Hansen, center, in Europe during World War I. The photo confused his family. Photo / Dean Purcell

The photo of Bert dressed in clothing in Europe during the war also intrigued Hansen’s family.

“How could he dress like that?” Stan asked. “He is a prisoner.”

Sue Hansen said she plans to return to Europe to retrace the many sites mentioned in the manuscript.

“This is a story that continues to grow, it’s incredible,” he said. “The internet helps, but it’s like a puzzle. We have most of the outside but we are missing a lot of the inside. With these things, it doesn’t seem like a huge number but it really is. It’s quite old and people are getting old. we even have this.

Sue will also meet two historians the family has contacted over the past two months.

“Our two main local contacts are in Belgium, one has a museum, the other is publishing for academics, and they’ve got into their network and all of a sudden all these people are saying ‘hey, we want to get involved’,” says Sue.

“I have taken lots of photos and sent them to Europe, the embassies. Churches are fascinated by these writings because many of them were destroyed.”

Stan says his travel days are over, but just being able to read his father’s handwritten words describing a story he could never tell while he was alive is more than enough.

“Oh, that’s incredible. It’s an extraordinary story. It’s incredible that he can actually move and get so many people to help him in occupied Belgium,” he said.

“Until the end of January this year I had never seen them. To me this is a complete discovery.”


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