25 Feb 2024

Good News: The stories that cheered us up this week

8:04 pm on 25 February 2024
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Photo: RNZ

Welcome back to RNZ's new weekly round up of Good News, where we'll be sharing some of the most uplifting recent stories featured on our website by RNZ reporters and partners.

Here's the good news round-up for this week: ️

Indian rainbow community shines at Auckland pride events

More than two dozen members of the Indian rainbow community participated in the Auckland Pride Parade accompanied by music and dancing.

Members of the Indian rainbow community celebrated at the Auckland Pride Parade with music and dancing. Photo: RNZ / Blessen Tom

After its historic debut at the Auckland Rainbow Parade last year, Indian Origin Pride New Zealand once again represented the Indian rainbow community. More than two dozen members of the South Asian rainbow community participated in the parade. "There is a group of people within the Indian community that identifies as rainbow, and we are here to create a safe space for them," said member Suraj Malage.

Whale song mystery solved by scientists

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Scientists now know how some whales can sing underwater. Photo: konart/123RF

Exactly how humpbacks and other baleen whales produce their complex and haunting songs has been a mystery until now. The whales have evolved a specialised "voice box" that enables them to sing underwater. In humans, our voices come from vibrations when air passes over structures called vocal folds in our throat. Baleen whales, instead, have a large U-shaped structure with a cushion of fat at the top of the larynx. This vocal anatomy allows the animals to sing by recycling air, and it prevents water from being inhaled.

Drama and dance help refugee youth find their feet

Izzy at MIXIT

Izadine Ahmed Abdallah (centre front) at MIXIT Photo: Phil Vine

Izadine Ahmed Abdallah was 13 and living in a refugee camp in Chad when he learned that his family had been offered a refugee placement in New Zealand. He was struggling at school here but then a friend told him about MIXIT, a place where young refugees go to practice drama and dance. At MIXIT, he became a group leader, and then an alumni. Now he works for them. Most of the young New Zealanders at MIXIT started life in a refugee camp, or a war zone.

Kura Reo courses sell out in minutes as demand grows

Attendees at Te Kura Reo ki Ngāti Awa, held at Te Whare Wānanga Awanuiārangi in Whakatāne from 14-17 January 2024.

Attendees of Te Kura Reo ki Ngāti Awa in Whakatāne. Photo: Aorewa Creative

Thousands of learners are attending the full immersion te reo courses every year, and there are long waiting lists for those who miss out. Paulette Tamati-Eliffe attended her first Kura Reo 21 years ago. At the time she didn't feel she was good enough or fluent enough to be in a full te reo environment, but she has since graduated from student to teacher and is raising her children with te reo. Demand for the courses is outstripping the resources available and Tamati-Eliffe said this popularity of Kura Reo is a sign that te reo is on the rise.

Recovering lost taonga after 200 years

Professor Deidre Brown

Professor Deidre Brown Photo: supplied

After being declared forever lost, eight treasured Māori whakairo rākau (traditional wood carvings) have been rediscovered in museums across the world. Deidre Brown, a professor at Auckland University's School of Architecture, went on an eight year hunt for the lost whakairo rākau. The missing items were first acquired by the Christchurch Missionary Society in 1823. They are the earliest carvings to have their meanings explained by Māori and recorded in text.

The museums where the carvings have been located are keen to see them reconnected with their iwi.

'Mad cow' disease restrictions on blood donations to be lifted next week

More than 500 people have registered to give blood following the Christchurch terror attacks.

Photo: RNZ / Jessie Chiang

After more than 20 years, the 'mad cow' blood donation restriction will be removed next week. Since 2000, people who lived in the United Kingdom, France or Ireland between 1980 and 1996 for at least six months have been unable to donate blood or plasma in New Zealand. The NZ Blood Service estimated the restriction made them lose about eight to 10 percent of donors. The restriction lift means more people will be able to donate blood and take part in the essential life saving service.

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