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New Zealand PM Ardern launches new fund to spur green investment
5 December 2018 - New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced a new NZ$100 million ($69.28 million) green investment fund on Wednesday, aimed at boosting private-sector participation in a campaign to achieve zero net carbon emissions by 2050. (more)

Maori language, once shunned, is having a renaissance in New Zealand
16 September 2018 - Maori is having a revival across New Zealand. Indigenous people are increasingly embracing their language, rejecting generations of stigma and shame associated with its use. And white New Zealanders are looking to Maori language and culture to help them make sense of their own cultural identity. As of 2013, just 3.7 percent of New Zealanders spoke the language fluently, and many predicted that it would soon die out. But analysts say Maori's status is shifting, and a basic knowledge of the language has come to signify cultural cool in a country that continues to wrestle with its colonial and indigenous roots. (more)

New Zealand: Government pumps another $3.9 million into electric vehicle projects
7 August 2018 - The government [of New Zealand] is pumping another $3.9 million of co-funding into 19 projects that range from improving the range of electric camper vans to building a series of charging stations as part of its goal to get 64,000 electric vehicles on the road by 2021. (more)

New Zealand gives Mount Taranaki same legal rights as a person
22 December 2017 - Mount Taranaki in New Zealand is to be granted the same legal rights as a person, becoming the third geographic feature in the country to be granted a 'legal personality'. Eight local Māori tribes and the government will share guardianship of the sacred mountain on the west coast of the North Island, in a long-awaited acknowledgement of the indigenous people's relationship to the mountain, who view it as an ancestor and whanau, or family member. (more)

New Zealand: The free grocery store fighting food waste and hunger
12 September 2017 - The Free Store is a nonprofit organization that redistributes surplus food from local businesses in New Zealand's capital city, Wellington, to those in need. It was inspired by a two-week art project in 2010 where artist Kim Paton filled a shop with surplus food items from bakeries and supermarkets. Anyone visiting the shop could take what they wanted free of charge. More than a solution just to curb waste, The Free Store has grown into a community food source. (more)

How bees use their unique vision to search for food and find their way home
28 August 2017 - The way bees see is their superpower. Their unique vision gives them the ability to find nectar- and pollen-rich flowers. Bees have two different types of eyes which do different jobs. On top of their heads are three small, single-lensed eyes called ocelli. Bees use them to see flower colours with ultraviolet light, judge light intensity, navigate, and keep orientated. They also have two much larger compound eyes with thousands of facets or tiny lenses. Each facet is connected to a cone with eight cells called photoreceptors. In each cone, there are two receptors for each of the colours blue, yellowy-green, and ultraviolet. (more)

New Zealand pledges $1 million to help clear landmines in Colombia
30 June 2017 - New Zealand is giving $1 million in aid to help clear landmines in Colombia, one of the most mine-scarred countries in the world after a half century of war, officials said on Friday, 30 June. Most of the funds will go to a two-year program by the British-based Halo Trust, a demining group ... Colombia's FARC rebels handed over all their weapons this week to the U.N. as part of a peace deal signed last year with the government. The move helps pave the way to expand mine clearance as security improves in areas once under rebel control. (more)

New Zealand devises test for manuka honey
11 April 2017 - The New Zealand government has tested 800 samples of honey from around the world to establish a scientific definition of genuine manuka honey and crackdown on alleged fakes. After three years of testing honey samples, New Zealand's Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has released a scientific definition to be used to authenticate manuka honey destined for export in a bid to restore consumer confidence. (more)

New Zealand river granted same legal rights as human being
16 March 2017 - After 140 years of negotiation, Māori tribe wins recognition for Whanganui river, meaning it must be treated as a living entity. The local Māori tribe of Whanganui in the North Island has fought for the recognition of their river -- the third-largest in New Zealand -- as an ancestor for 140 years. Two guardians will be appointed to act on behalf of the Whanganui river, one from the crown and one from the Whanganui iwi. (more)

New Zealand: Award for 'can-do' essential oil venture
13 March 2017 - Otago-based ForestPlus Oils has received accolades at the New Zealand Wood Resene Timber Design Awards for its essential oil distilled from Douglas fir trees. The company was the winner of the Scion-sponsored novel application of (wood) fibre category at the awards, held in Auckland. Since July 2015, it has removed and processed more than 1.3 million kg of biomass from road edges and wildings. The tree material would otherwise be considered a waste product. Vacuum distillation technology, developed by ForestPlus Oils, was then used to produce more than 3300kg of oil ... (more)

Success of Maharishi's Programmes
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Meditating for your heart: Top New Zealand TV news show interviews Dr Robert Schneider
9 October 2013 - A top New Zealand television news show interviewed leading American heart researcher Robert Schneider, MD, FACC, this week during his current speaking tour in the country. The segment on the 'Breakfast' news show was titled 'Meditating for your heart'. During the 4-minute interview, Dr Schneider talked with host Melissa Stokes about his recent research on Transcendental Meditation showing how the simple, stress-reducing meditation technique has a beneficial effect on the 'brain-heart connection'--promoting lower blood pressure and reducing the risk of heart attack, stroke, and death. (more)

New Zealand: Visiting cardiologist to give public lecture on Transcendental Meditation at University of Canterbury
6 October 2013 - A visiting cardiologist will give a public lecture at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand, this week explaining that people who regularly practise Transcendental Meditation have 48 per cent fewer deaths, heart attacks, and strokes. American academic researcher Dr Robert Schneider is touring New Zealand this month to explain the health benefits of meditation. (more)

Maharishi Vastu home highlighted in New Zealand Herald article
4 October 2013 - An October article in the New Zealand Herald, the most widely read newspaper in New Zealand, highlighted a new home built according to the principles of Maharishi Vastu architecture and to high ecological and energy-efficient standards. The home features cutting-edge eco design, a modern look, and ancient architectural principles. (more)

Medical association in New Zealand to work with doctors prescribing Transcendental Meditation
4 October 2013 - A Maharishi Medical Association is being established in New Zealand to work with doctors who want to prescribe Transcendental Meditation to patients with cardiovascular disease. The association will interface with doctors and provide another avenue for learning the stress-reducing technique, which has been found to reduce atherosclerosis and other aspects of cardiovascular disease. Doctors will prescribe Transcendental Meditation, and then the association will organize for those patients to learn. (more)

New Vastu developments springing up in New Zealand
4 October 2013 - New Zealand has a population of 4.4 million people and over 120 active Transcendental Meditation teachers. There is increasing interest in the meditation technique and in Maharishi Vastu architecture in the country. (more)

New Zealand company to help clients design and build Vastu homes quickly
4 October 2013 - In New Zealand there are Maharishi Vastu architecture developments in progress in Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch. With all this interest, director Martin Davy spoke of a new initiative to help everyone who is interested to start enjoying the benefits of living in Vastu-designed buildings as quickly and easily as possible. 'We are creating this company that will work with the people wanting to be in Vastu,' said Mr Davy. 'This company will organize for the contractors, the project managers, and the design, and then people will just be able to move into their Vastu house very easily.' They can just ask for a Vastu house, he said--'and this company will take care of everything'. (more)

New Zealand: Growing interest in Transcendental Meditation
4 October 2013 - Interest in the Transcendental Meditation programme has been rising steadily in New Zealand. Martin Davy, director of the programme in the country, explained that he and his wife recently opened a new Maharishi Invincibility Centre in Wellington, a teaching centre where people can learn about the stress-reducing meditation technique and take a course of instruction. (more)

New Zealand: Renowned doctor supports Transcendental Meditation as treatment for heart disease
4 October 2013 - A world-renowned expert on Transcendental Meditation and the prevention of heart disease recently toured New Zealand. Robert Schneider, MD, FACC, is one of the world's leading authorities on scientific, natural approaches for heart disease. He spent five days in New Zealand, giving nine different talks to doctors and others in the medical profession in Wellington, Christchurch, and Auckland. (more)

Transcendental Meditation and heart health: Expert's New Zealand tour supported by media
4 October 2013 - Robert Schneider, MD, FACC, a world-renowned expert in natural approaches to heart health, recently toured New Zealand. An article in the New Zealand Herald, the largest newspaper in the country, was published about his tour last month. The article interviewed Dr Schneider in regard to his most recent research, published in the American Heart Association journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, which showed a 48 per cent reduction in heart attack, stroke, and death among patients with cardiovascular disease who practised Transcendental Meditation. (more)

Why Transcendental Meditation is good for your heart - New Zealand Herald reports
4 October 2013 - Prominent American researcher Robert Schneider, MD, FACC, is coming to New Zealand this month to explain the health benefits of Transcendental Meditation practice. According to The New Zealand Herald, Dr Schneider will give presentations to doctors and to the public in Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch from 6 to 9 October. 'I wish to tell New Zealand doctors why the American Heart Association is now recommending Transcendental Meditation,' said Dr Schneider from his home in Iowa, USA. 'My message to the public is simple. Learn TM to lower high blood pressure and reduce heart disease.' (more)

Short Summaries of Top Stories

First 6 months of 2016 hottest ever recorded in New Zealand
4 July 2016 - Ski fields are struggling to open and winter electricity consumption is down in New Zealand after the first six months of 2016 proved to be the hottest start to a year that scientists have ever recorded. Temperatures in the South Pacific nation were 1.4 degrees Celsius (2.5 Fahrenheit) above the long-term average for the first half of the year, according to the government-funded National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research. The agency reported that carbon dioxide levels recorded at a station near Wellington passed 400 parts per million in June for the first time. The threshold is seen as significant internationally as an indicator of climate change. (more)

Rapid melt of famed New Zealand glaciers ends hikes onto them
16 March 2016 - New Zealand is renowned for its wondrous scenery, and among the country's top tourist attractions are two glaciers that are both stunning and unusual because they snake down from the mountains to a temperate rain forest, making them easy for people to walk up to and view. But the Fox and Franz Josef glaciers have been melting at such a rapid rate that it has become too dangerous for tourists to hike onto them from the valley floor, ending a tradition that dates back a century. With continuing warm weather this year there are no signs of a turnaround, and scientists say it is another example of how global warming is impacting the environment. (more)

Newer pesticides could be putting sting on bees
4 September 2014 - New Zealand must investigate whether some of the newer pesticide sprays are doing long-term harm to bee populations, former president of the National Beekeepers' Association Barry Foster says. He's been keeping bees in Gisborne for 20 years. No one had investigated the effect of neonicotinoid systemic pesticides on the country's soils, he said. A Victoria University MSc student will begin a study on unexplained bee losses in the Gisborne region this season. The research was urgent because evidence from overseas was growing that the use of neonicotinoid pesticides which had enabled a leap in horticultural production was one of the factors causing bee populations to die off in Europe and the United States, Mr Foster said. (more)

Ocean garbage frustrates search for Flight 370
31 March 2014 - Anticipation has repeatedly turned into frustration in the search for signs of Flight 370 as objects spotted from planes in a new search area west of Australia have turned out to be garbage. It's a time-wasting distraction for air and sea crews searching for debris from the Malaysia Airlines flight that vanished 8 March. It also points to wider problems in the world's oceans. 'The ocean is like a plastic soup, bulked up with the croutons of these larger items,' said Los Angeles captain Charles Moore, an environmental advocate credited with bringing attention to an ocean gyre between Hawaii and California known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which by some accounts is about the size of Texas. The world's oceans have four more of these flotsam-collecting vortexes, Moore said, and the searchers, in an area about 1,850 kilometres (1,150 miles) west of Perth, have stumbled onto the eastern edge of a gyre in the Indian Ocean. (more)

Teens who smoke pot can damage memory, intelligence
27 August 2012 - Teenagers who become hooked on cannabis before they reach 18 may be causing lasting damage to their intelligence, memory and attention, according to the results of a large, long-term study published on Monday. Terrie Moffitt, a psychology and neuroscience professor at King's College London's Institute of Psychiatry, said the scope and length of the study, which involved more than 1,000 people followed up over 40 years, gave its findings added weight. The researchers also found that people who started using cannabis in adolescence and continued for years afterwards showed an average decline in Intelligence Quotient (IQ) test scores of 8 points between the age of 13 and 38. Madeleine Meier, a post-doctoral researcher at Duke University in the United States said the study's message was clear: 'Marijuana is not harmless, particularly for adolescents.' (more)

Alcohol abuse may lead to depression: study
7 March 2009 - Excessive alcohol drinking may increase the risk of depression, a long-term study conducted over 25 years in New Zealand has found. The study, published in the Archives of General Psychiatry, involved a group of 1,055 children who were monitored and interviewed at various times over 25 years. The study found 19.4 per cent of the participants between 17 and 18 were either abusing or dependent on alcohol, and 18.2 per cent were diagnosed with depression. 'Individuals who fulfilled the criteria for alcohol abuse or dependency were 1.9 times more likely to also fulfill the criteria for major depression,' the researchers wrote. (more)

Physical activity declines over preschool years
12 January 2009 - Childhood obesity is a growing problem, and new research suggests that physical activity levels among youngsters already begin a decline before they start school. In a study of 244 New Zealand children, researchers found that the children's daily exercise levels generally declined between the ages of 3 and 5, while their time in front of the TV or in other sedentary activities stayed consistent. The findings are potentially concerning, as in recent years, obesity has been rapidly increasing even among preschoolers. (more)

New Zealand: Raid on Maori village opens old wound
16 December 2007 - The town of Ruatoki, home to Maori -- descendants of Polynesians who migrated to New Zealand about 1,000 years ago -- is dotted with small houses, some just sheds, that lie in flat fields by a rural highway on the northern of New Zealand's two main islands. In October, police stormed into the quiet town, threw up roadblocks, shot out truck tires, and forced families out of their homes at gunpoint. The rare show of force, with its dark subscript of terrorism and assassination plans, stunned this placid nation where beat cops don't even carry guns. It has since sparked charges of racism and inflamed historical resentments, and protests both locally and abroad. (more)

New Zealand extends Afghan troop deployment
19 November 2007 - New Zealand has extended the duration of its troop deployment in Afghanistan for two years until September 2009, Prime Minister Helen Clark said on Monday. The tour of duty for the 120-member provincial reconstruction team in Bamiyan province, west of Kabul, had been due to end in September this year. Clark said New Zealand would also send a warship to the Gulf region before September next year. (more)

New Zealand: 600% increase in water pollution incidents
17 December 2004 - Over the last four years there has been a 600 per cent increase in water pollution incidents caused by activities using concrete, and the Aukland Regional Council (ARC) is cracking down on concrete contractors. (more)


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