Auckland confirmed as base for Lord of the Rings

Pre-production is already underway and work on the series will begin in Auckland in the coming months.

Showrunners and executive producers JD Payne and Patrick McKay said they wanted to find somewhere with majestic scenery and "world-class sets, studios, and highly skilled and experienced craftspeople and other staff".

"We are grateful to the people and the government of New Zealand and especially Auckland for supporting us during this pre-production phase.

Viral measles outbreak in Auckland has Pacific nations on alert

From 1 January 2019 to 9 September 2019 there have been 1131 confirmed cases of measles notified across New Zealand - 944 of these confirmed cases are in the Auckland region.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the New Zealand government is continuing to give very strong advice to everyone to get immunised.

Hugh Jackman in Auckland: Show times, tickets, and how to get there

Hollywood star Hugh Jackman is set to perform his world tour in the city of sails.

The Australian-born actor and singer is on his way for his "The Man. The Music. The Show." tour.

It will head to Auckland for two shows at Spark Arena on Friday and Saturday.

Here is everything you need to know if you are heading along.

Tongan church elder in Auckland keen to highlight impact of measles as free vaccinations launch

Free vaccinations are being offered in South Auckland today as a part of the response to the growing outbreak.

Free clinics are also operating at the Clendon Shopping Centre in Manurewa and Middlemore Hospital.

There more than 920 cases of measles across the country prompting outreach programmes like the one at the Free Church of Tonga in Māngere.

A church elder, Reverend Ifalame Teisi, said the church is concerned about what's happening.

He said people need to get immunised and it's important to spread the word.

759 measles cases now confirmed in Auckland

Auckland is at the centre of the outbreak with hundreds more cases than the rest of the country combined

The Auckland Regional Public Health Service said the number was 143 higher than this time last week.

It was warning Auckland schools to take serious precautions if they were participating in the many sports tournaments due to start around the country next week.

Anyone with symptoms of measles, including a cough or runny nose, should not be included in teams, it said.

Auckland city kava bar hopes to win hearts and minds over drink

The drink - an earthy-tasting ground root which numbs muscles and has been used to treat anxiety and stress - has been used widely across the Pacific and among its diaspora for centuries.

But the West, commercial traction has been held back by a lack of education around Pacific culture and limited research into its effects, experts say. Although legal in New Zealand, kava imports been restricted in many Western jurisdictions, including parts of Australia.

Two cousins found guilty of murder and attempted murder

Mesui Tufui and Fisilau Tapaevalu have been on trial at the High Court at Auckland charged with murdering Abraham Tu'uheava and attempting to murder his wife Yolanda. 

On Friday, the jury delivered a unanimous verdict finding both defendants guilty. 

In April 2018, Abraham Tu'uheava was lured to Greenwood Rd in Māngere, south Auckland for a potential drug deal, the court heard during the trial.

There, he was shot at least seven times and died within minutes. It was a "miracle" his wife survived after she was shot multiple times in the head, the court was told.

Police issue safety message ahead of Mate Ma'a Tonga/Kiwi international league match

Police are encouraging league fans to plan ahead for Saturday night’s game.

Area Commander for Counties Manukau in Auckland, Inspector Matt Srhoj says Police have been working with a number of partners from different communities and organisations around planning for the game.

“We know this is an exciting time for league supporters and we encourage people to enjoy the night,” said Inspector Srhoj.

“We also ask that while people are having a good time that they are also respectful and mindful of others."

Mt Smart Tonga: A home game for the Kiwis?

For the New Zealand men's and women's rugby league teams, Saturday's matches fit firmly into that category.

As they did in selling out Mt Smart Stadium for last year's test against Australia, Tongan fans will be out in force to support their side.

Kiwis playmaker Shaun Johnson admitted silencing the song, and lowering the thousands of red flags, would take some doing.

"We'll do our best to try to take the crowd out of the game. Whether we can do that or not, because they're so passionate, that's yet to be seen.

Elton John's New Zealand concerts rescheduled - but Auckland get an extra show

After some confusion on Wednesday, John also confirmed he has changed the dates of three of his concerts in this country "due to an unforeseen scheduling conflict".

The new and third Auckland show will be at Mt Smart Stadium on February 20, 2020. Tickets for that show will go on sale on May 22.

The dates for John's other two Auckland shows, and for the second of his shows at Mission Estate Winery in Hawke's Bay, have been delayed by a week.