21 Apr 2024

Good News: Stories that cheered us up for the week 15-21 April

6:39 pm on 21 April 2024
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Photo: RNZ

Help given to homeless people has resulted in uplifting changes, a skate park has had a busy opening day, and unfair office politics leading to a best-selling novel are among this week's feel-good stories from RNZ.

Lesieli Oliver on her drive to help Māori and Pasifika students thrive in education

Lesieli Oliver, co-founder of Lālanga. Right, Lālanga toolbox.

Lesieli Oliver, co-founder of Lālanga. Right, Lālanga toolbox. Photo: Supplied, Lālanga.

Amid the talk about the best ways to improve school attendance, Lesieli Oliver has been quietly getting on with the job. She's the co-founder of Lālanga, an organisation that seeks to help Māori and Pasifika students engage and thrive at school.

Lālanga's approach is to provide practical support and encouragement to schools, and to create excitement about school among students. It sets schools up with a weekly classroom box that delivers daily content, activities and individual workbooks to students, as well as lesson plans and support for teachers on a topic of their choosing.

Tairua turns out to celebrate opening of newest Skate Park on Coromandel Peninsula

Zahlia, 12, (left) and Ari, 13, (right) at the Tairua Skate Park opening 15 April 2024.

Zahlia, 12, (left) and Ari, 13, (right) at the Tairua Skate Park opening event. Photo: Leonard Powell

Hundreds of skaters stormed the fresh concrete on their boards, and scooters whipped around the new bowls and ramps of Tairua's new skate park. It was an atmosphere of happy pandemonium.

The decades-long battle for the skate park ended in August last year when Hamilton's High Court dismissed a legal challenge to block the project. Determination was the word of the day. "Just seeing so many kids - and old kids - here, it's why we do it," said local company Acid Skateboards owner Ants Leggett who helped complete the park design.

Housing programme leads to 'impressive' long-term change in health and well-being

Aerial view of Hamilton and the Waikato river.

Hamilton Photo: Hamilton & Waikato Tourism

Housing First, a programme helping homeless people in Hamilton into housing has led to a dramatic improvement in health, justice, income and employment outcomes.

Research showed, for those in the programme, over five years, hospitalisations fell by 44 percent, the number of nights spent at mental health units reduced by 63 percent, and there were 43 percent fewer criminal charges. Meanwhile, incomes grew, as did the number of months people paid tax.

New Zealand's planet-heating gases hit lowest level since the 1990s

Planet Earth with detailed exaggerated relief at night lit by the lights of cities. New Zealand. 3D rendering. Elements of this image furnished by NASA

Photo: 123rf.com

Clean energy is behind the country's lowest greenhouse gases since 1999, Climate Change Minister Simon Watts says.

New Zealand has now cut its planet-heating gases for three years in a row, with the latest drop the biggest since climate change efforts began. A major reason was burning less coal and gas to make electricity, helped by plenty of rain in the country's hydro dams. More efficient vehicles also contributed, with road transport burning less fuel despite similar kilometres travelled.

A bad day at the office sparks a glittering new career

Photo: supplied by Auckland Writers Festival

Now a best-selling author, one day, decades into a successful advertising career, Bonnie Garmus presented her ideas for a new campaign. The only woman present, the room was silent after her presentation. Until a man piped up, saying, "I have completely different ideas. This is what I think we should do…" He then proceeded to read her PowerPoint slide and claimed all of the ideas as his own.

Garmus said not a single person stood up for her.

"When I went back to my desk that day instead of working on what I was supposed to be working on, I sat down and I wrote the first chapter of her novel Lessons in Chemistry."

Maria Contreras Huerta wins Plumbing World national scholarship for apprentices

Maria Contreras Huerta, who has won the Plumbing World national scholarship.

Maria Contreras Huerta Photo: Supplied

Maria Contreras Huerta has won the Plumbing World National scholarship for apprentices.

The 22-year-old could not speak any English when she arrived in New Zealand from Chile 16 years ago. By the time she was 14 she had her heart set on being a plumber. A Gateway programme at school introduced her to the trade.

Her dream is to own her own business to help people who are struggling or do not have anyone to support them. She would also be keen to hire disabled people who often get turned down for jobs without being given a chance to prove themselves, she said.

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