New Zealand

New Freemasons centre in NZ part of modernisation drive

After about two years of work, the Canterbury Kilwinning Lodge is opening in Woolston's Ferry Road today.

It's hoped that the new centre will give the Freemasons a renewed presence in Christchurch, after earthquakes forced the closure of a number of centres.

For the past five years a centre in Shirley has hosted the majority of masonic events in the city.

Freemasons New Zealand Grand Master, Mark Winger, said the new, purpose-built, boutique-style building would accommodate masonic ceremonies, as well as social activities for the wider community.

NZDF delivers voting equipment for Solomons

Air Commodore Tim Walshe said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade provided the voting screens to the Solomon Islands Electoral Commission.

New Zealand, together with its Pacific partners, contributed to restoring peace and stability in the Solomons in the early 2000s so they are pleased to support the islands again in a tangible way as it prepared for the elections, Mr Walshe said.

The RNZAF Boeing 757 flew to Honiara to deliver the voting equipment, as well as supplies for the Fred Hollows Foundation, an NGO providing eyecare in the region.

     

NZ ups its diplomatic presence in Pacific

The reset aims for a heightened focus on the Pacific and today's announcement will see 14 new diplomatic and development positions created offshore.

Mr Peters said the new posts would be in Samoa, Tonga, Fiji, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Kiribati, and Honolulu.

In addition four new diplomats will be placed in Tokyo, Beijing, Brussels, and New York, "to co-ordinate development policy and partnerships for the Pacific region".

Strong, deep earthquake felt across central New Zealand

GeoNet has reported the quake was a magnitude 6.7, although it was centered at a depth of 193km.

Parliament has been suspended after the quake.

More than 15,000 people have already reported feeling the quake on GeoNet.

GNS Science duty siesmologist Lara Bland warned local residents to expect aftershocks.

Ms Bland said longer, rolling quakes tend to produce fewer aftershocks but there would "certainly" be some coming.

Civil Defence said there is no tsunami threat.

Tonga and NZ sign agreement on quarantine certification of foods

Tonga Ministry of Agriculture signed a Memorandum of Understanding that covers the quarantine certification of food taken into New Zealand.

Head of Biosecurity New Zealand Roger Smith said the agreement meant Tongan passengers would bypass long queues in quarantine when they landed in New Zealand.

He said Tonga posed a low biosecurity risk to New Zealand.

The Ministry’s CEO, Dr. Viliami Manu, said the MOU showed Biosecurity New Zealand trusted Tongan quarantine officers to carry out the certification process.

Heavy snowfall blankets New Zealand's South Island

MetService warned heavy snow from overnight and carrying into this morning, at Central Otago, Southland and Fiordland, may disrupt travel and could damage trees and powerlines.

The cold conditions may also cause stress for livestock, MetService said on its website.

The weather agency stated snowfall may hit warning amounts above 500m in inland Dunedin and North Otago.

Fiordland, Westland south of Otira and Otago Headwaters and Canterbury Lakes and rivers are also expecting heavy rain today.

PNG fall to NZ on Day 5

However, they still went on to top off Group A with a 4-0 win over Papua New Guinea yesterday afternoon.

New Zealand managed the change in conditions and stadium well – all things – considered although their opponents were much more at home climate-wise.

After having their bench completely obliterated by suspensions following the match against Tahiti, Papua New Guinea were left with just two substitutes, including reserve keeper Baxter Morris, for their game against the defending champions.

New Zealand thump Tonga 14-0

Hoping to deliver another solid performance like their opening 45 against Papua New Guinea, Tonga came out buoyant and ready to deliver.

However the mood quickly turned when keeper Sionela Lui slipped, allowing Robert Tipelu to finish into an empty net in the 15th minute.

Conceding such an unfortunate early goal seemed to dampen Tongan spirits and it was all downhill from there for the Polynesian side as they struggled to hold up to the onslaught from their more experienced opponents.

Push to unite Pacific businesses in New Zealand

In September they will launch the Tonga Business Network with a goal to establish other Pacific business networks as well.

Their work follows an economic strategy put in place by the New Zealand government to grow Pacific businesses.

The Pacific economic strategy 6 year plan launched in 2015 aims to see more sustainable Pacific-owned businesses in the country and increase their access to mentors and business networks.

SBN's Co-founder Laura Keil-Hall said the goal is to create a wider Pacific Business Network within New Zealand.

Alo Ngata’s friends speak highly of him

Alo Ngata, 29, died in Auckland Hospital three days after a fracas with police as they tried to arrest him following an incident on Sunday afternoon in Freemans Bay.

Police allege Ngata violently attacked a 76-year-old, kicking him five or six times in the head and rendering him unconscious.

He then blocked police from getting to the injured pensioner and advanced on officers in a threatening manner.

Police Tasered Ngata several times but he continued to resist them.

It took four officers to restrain him.