10 Mar 2024

Good News: The stories that cheered us up this week

7:08 pm on 10 March 2024
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Photo: RNZ

A squadron of kiwis, surfing farmers and a community that stood by their local charity shop are just some of this week's feelgood stories as seen on RNZ.

Community rallies to bring Wellington charity Free For All back to life

Dee Glentworth (bottom left) and her team of volunteers and workers at Free For All in Porirua.

Photo: Supplied

The Wellington charity shop's founder says community support has helped the charity find the tools to revive itself after security concerns led to its closure. Discussion prompted by coverage of the closure had brought new volunteers to the charity. "We had to find a way to keep going for all the people that took the time to get in touch and say 'hey don't give up'," said Dee Glentworth. The store can now enter its 9th year of serving the community.

Squadron of 'flying kiwi' to land in Wellington

Two kiwi chicks believed to be the first born in the wild west of Wellington in 150 years.

Two kiwi chicks believed to be the first born in the wild west of Wellington in 150 years. Photo: supplied/Pete Kirkman

One hundred wild kiwi will be released into the hills around Wellington later this month, joining the 63 already moved to the Capital since 2022. The move is "quite radical in terms of pace and scale in growing a kiwi population," said Capital Kiwi Project founder Paul Ward. "There are kiwi running around out there 10 minutes from the CBD so it's pretty sweet." It shows what the community, iwi and landowners can achieve together.

'Give us a break!' say surfing farmers

Surfing for Farmers

Photo: Cosmo Kentish-Barnes

Every Thursday afternoon, Peninsula farmers head to the beach in Hickory Bay and ride waves to forget about work. Farmer and surfing coach, Kristin Savage, runs the Surfing for Farmers initiative, which doubles up as an après surf catch-up and BBQ in the farmyard. The surf therapy initiative, which has 28 chapters around the motu, is helping improve mental health and wellbeing in rural communities. When the farmers arrive, they slip out of their work clothes and into their wetsuits. A physical and psychological transformation occurs.

The Kiwi director bringing live-action Avatar: The Last Airbender to life

Roseanne Liang and Gordon Cormier, who plays Aang, in Avatar: The Last Airbender

Roseanne Liang and Gordon Cormier, who plays Aang, in Avatar: The Last Airbender Photo: Roseanne Liang

Netflix's live-action adaptation of Avatar is arguably one of the biggest productions of the year, with a budget of US$120 million. And one of the visionaries behind the new show is Asian-New Zealand creative Roseanne Liang. She is working as co-executive producer and director of episodes five and six. It all started in 2021 when Liang's agent called her about the show. Netflix was looking specifically for pan-Asian directors and her name was on the list.

More than 11,000 support petition to keep ban on live animal exports

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Photo: Jessica Jones Photography

A petition calling on the government to keep the ban on sending livestock abroad by sea - despite promising to repeal it - is gaining support. It was started by Dr John Hellstrom, former National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee chairperson, who was also once the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries' chief veterinary officer. He says reversing the live export ban was a mistake - and it unravelled all the hard work that led to this point. "People from all over the world are looking at New Zealand and saying 'What's going on? You've been world-leading in this regard.'"

No turning back' - horsetrekking from Bluff to Picton

Photo: Supplied

Karolin van Onna had been talking about horse trekking the length of the South Island for years and last summer she finally did it. She and her friend Nicole Kumpfmueller spent three and a half months at the beginning of 2023 riding more than 1500km from Bluff to Picton on back-country trails. Aside from the willingness of the horses, the majestic scenery and the adventure it was the people they met along the way - who let them camp or stay, cooked food for them and gave directions - which made the journey.

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