28 Apr 2024

Good News: Stories that cheered us up for the week 22-28 April

7:09 pm on 28 April 2024
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Photo: RNZ

The return of a beloved native bird, Northland aquabots students' successful fundraiser and Rarotonga's first Pride Week are among this week's feel-good stories from RNZ.

The return of the rifleman

The rifleman is New Zealand's smallest bird.

The rifleman is New Zealand's smallest bird. Photo: CC BY-SA 2.0 digital trails/Flickr

Titipounamu, or rifleman birds, disappeared from Wellington over a century ago due to human activity and predation.

In 2019, 60 birds were relocated to Zealandia eco-sanctuary to re-establish a population in the capital. In 2021, the birds were found 3km from there in Te Ahumairangi Reserve - the first time they had been seen there in 100 years.

And just this month, titipounamu have been seen in Ngaio - even further from Zealandia. Predator Free Ngaio spokesperson Judie Alison said this shows the benefits of having every suburb engaged in trapping pests - plus having native bush corridors for the birds to move through.

Aquabots are go!

Motatau 12-year-olds Te Maioha Tipene, left, and Zacchaeus Tua test their aquabot in the school pool.

Motatau 12-year-olds Te Maioha Tipene, left, and Zacchaeus Tua test their aquabot in the school pool. Photo: RNZ / Peter de Graaf

Four children from a tiny Northland school are winging their way to the United States next month to compete in a global underwater robotics challenge after a flood of donations from all over Aotearoa.

The Motatau School students placed second in a regional aquabots challenge, making them eligible for the world finals in Washington DC next month. They held hāngi, food stalls and raffles to help fundraise for the trip, with marae and iwi organisations pitching in with donations. After their story was shared on Kiwi media, their Givealittle page blew up to the $60k needed to get them to the US.

A pathway to Pasifika academic success


Auckland University has launched a new initiative to improve Māori and Pacific University Entrance (UE) pass rates and increase success at tertiary level. Partnering with 12 secondary schools, the university hopes that the initiative will boost students' academic success.

Māori and Pacific UE attainment dropped from 40 percent in 2020 to 34 percent in 2022, compared with national rates of 53 percent in 2020 and 50 percent in 2022.

Raratonga's first-ever Pride Week

'Miss Thunderhips' contestants wowed the crowd during Anuanua Week celebrations.

'Miss Thunderhips' contestants wowed the crowd during Anuanua Week celebrations. Photo: Supplied / Radio Cook Islands

Raratonga's LGBTIA+ community has celebrated one year since the Cook Islands decriminalised same-sex relations. Its inaugural Pride Week - Anuanua Week - was full of colourful wearable arts, theatre productions, dance competitions, thought-provoking film festivals and robust discussion panels.

"Having Pride Week always carries stigma regardless of how progressive the country is, so we hope to show that it is not just about marches and riots, but it's also about having fun and appreciating one another," said Cook Islands Pride community president Dean Kapi-Tangata.

How green is your vinyl?

Joel Woods and Ben Wallace, the founders of Holiday Records

Joel Woods and Ben Wallace, the founders of Holiday Records Photo: supplied

Auckland's Holiday Records is one of only two places in New Zealand that still presses vinyl records. Traditionally made out of highly toxic, plastic PVC, the vinyl at Holiday is different.

They have started pressing what is known as biovinyl, made out of bio resins like recycled cooking oil or wood pulp. Biovinyl reduces the fossil-fuel emissions of vinyl pressing by 92 percent - something the store is very passionate about in their quest to become the most sustainable vinyl pressing plant in the world.

A stadium for Kaikohe's future sports stars

From left, Kaikohe and Districts Sportsville board secretary Debbie Raphael, sports coordinator Kohi Woodman and co-chair Suzee Ross outside the almost-completed indoor stadium.

Photo: RNZ

Kaikohe has produced more than its share of world champions - think Black Ferns Cheryl Waaka and Portia Woodman, boxer Daniella Smith, even unicyclist Chris Huriwai - but mostly the town's up-and-coming sports stars have to leave town to make it big. That's because, until now, the town didn't have any facilities for training in all weather or taking sport to a higher level.

But a new, state-of-the-art stadium is set to change this, benefiting the health and wellbeing of the entire community. Local businesses were involved in the build, with 95 percent of contractors also from the region.

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