23 Jun 2024

Good News: Stories that cheered us up for the week 17-23 June

6:39 pm on 23 June 2024

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Photo: RNZ

A Fijian circus, a Canterbury fossil that predates dinosaurs and a hospital gardener sharing his skills are among this week's feel-good stories from RNZ.

Learning to love the skin you're in

Jono Lancaster and his book, 'Not All Heroes Wear Capes'.

Jono Lancaster and his book, 'Not All Heroes Wear Capes'. Photo: Penguin Random House / Supplied

Jono Lancaster was only 36 hours old when his parents abandoned him at a hospital in Yorkshire. He was born with a rare genetic condition, Treacher Collins syndrome, which affects craniofacial development in the womb. After years of hating himself, Lancaster decided on a different way to live. He launched the Love Me, Love My Face Foundation, is working on a BBC show and has recently published a book. The book, he said on Nine to Noon, is "about becoming the biggest hero in your own life. You are the biggest source of inspiration that you have."

Changing Māori and Pacific lives through science

thumbnail for stars of Matariki series with Dr Troy Tararo-Ruhe's image

Photo: Supplied

Growing up in Wellington and the Cook Islands, Dr Troy Tararo-Ruhe dreamed of becoming an All Black. Now, he's changing lives through science. While studying, Tararo-Ruhe aimed to attack the negative health statistics among Māori and Pacific communities through teaching and education. The Cook Island dancer developed an exercise programme that includes traditional Cook Island dance and resistance exercises which simulate coconut cream preparation. He says his focus in life is his work and getting more Māori youth interested in the subject of science and data research. "I'm putting myself out there so others may go, 'wow, if this guy can do it, so can I'."

Canterbury nothosaur provides insight into Triassic era

Oldest Southern Sauropterygian Fossil

Photo: Supplied / GNS Science / Benjamin Kear

A 246-million-year-old fossil discovered in Canterbury upends long-standing theories about Earth's natural history, researchers say. Scientists from New Zealand working alongside researchers from Sweden, Norway, Australia and Timor-Leste found the fossilised vertebra belonged to the nothosaur, a reptile resembling the Loch Ness monster that lived before dinosaurs. "Here we are, little old New Zealand way down at the bottom of the other end of the world, and we have this fantastic record of early Triassic time," palaeontologist Dr Hamish Campbell said.

Hospital gardener on why tending soil is good for the soul

Michael Marquet single-handedly maintains the gardens on the grounds of Christchurch Hospital.

Photo: RNZ / Georgie Hanafin

The vast bouquets of beauty and life that greet visitors as they enter Christchurch Hospital's grounds are tended by just one extraordinary man - Michael Marquet. He dropped out of school at 15 and could not read or write. But a passion for gardening has turned the now 60-year-old into an award-winning author of four books and taken him around the world. "To plant a new garden is to believe in tomorrow. Gardening is one of the best therapies for the soul and the heart. I'm making the place beautiful. What I'm doing is healing for me and it's healing for other people."

Rocket Lab steps up after US space camp goes under

Rocket Lab production floor in Auckland.

Rocket Lab production floor in Auckland. Photo: Supplied / Rocket Lab

Rocket Lab is stepping in to fill the vacuum that more than a dozen students find themselves in after their space camp dreams came crashing down. It's offering the students a tour of its rocket factory and mission control in Auckland after a company organising to send the students to a US space camp collapsed. Actura charged up to $13,000 for Kiwi kids to attend the camp but then went into liquidation. Rocket Lab has about a dozen rockets being worked on at any given time at its Mount Wellington factory, with about 500 rocket scientists and engineers, and a big mission control.

Circus arts and storytelling with Pacific flair

Fijian Flying Circus

Fijian Flying Circus Photo: Supplied

With a full cast of Fijians, 'A story of the Fijian Flying Circus' blends the spectacle of circus with the power of storytelling found in dance. The performers have been training for more than a year with the help of coaches from Cuba. "I'm just so proud of all the artists, they've really grown themselves into all of their training and like, fused it with some of their cultural storytelling and the outcome is just like. It's really beautiful," said VOU dance company director Sachiko Soro.

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