Waitaki Souper Soup SipperShop LocalFree Stuff & Hot DealsGames & PuzzlesGet in touchWaitaki App is brought to you by The Business Hive
Waitaki App

News


Art auction a finishing touch on Forrester fundraising
Art auction a finishing touch on Forrester fundraising

15 July 2024, 8:27 PM

Some of North Otago’s best-known artists have stepped up to support Ōamaru’s Forrester Gallery upgrade.The Uplifting Art Auction opened on July 6, with more than 20 artworks up for sale, and runs until September 1.The auction is being run by the Friends of the Forrester Gallery, and has already garnered more than $3000 worth of bids.Original works from artists such as Watts Davies, Donna Demente, Peter Cleverley and Sarka Cibulcova are up for sale, as well as some prints, ceramics and sculptures.Forrester Gallery director Chloe Searle says the extension planned for the 1884 former Bank of New South Wales building includes adding a public lift, a purpose-built collection storage space, a loading dock, a new space for touring exhibitions and an education and events space.While some of the upgrade costs came under the Waitaki District Council-approved Cultural Facilities Development Project, up to $8 million needed to be raised externally.In September last year, a $6.5m grant from the Regional Culture and Heritage Fund was a massive boost to the fundraising efforts, ensuring the project could go ahead.“The Friends are now in the final stages of raising the money needed to make this project a reality,” Chloe says.The works available in the auction are being exhibited on the top floor of the Forrester, and most are for sale via silent auction, while others can be purchased directly.Friends of the Forrester chair Heather Machin says there is “something for everyone”.“With artworks for different ages, styles and values. “I would like to thank everyone who has so generously donated works. While many donations have come from locals, Wētā Workshop have also got on board with a donation of a Dr Grordbort's sculpture,” Heather says.Many of the works are for sale with no reserve. Bidders need to contact the Forrester Gallery to register as a bidder and then place their bids. The art works can be viewed in the exhibition and also online.Building work on the extension is expected to start in early 2025 with completion projected for 2026.

Wordle, betrayal and a paywall PR fail? | Opinion
Wordle, betrayal and a paywall PR fail? | Opinion

12 July 2024, 9:17 PM

~ Opinion ~Wordle - that addictive word game that took the world by storm back in 2022 now requires a New York Times' games subscription to access WordleBot's analysis of a player's game and the internet is divided.If you're not a Wordler, you might want to look away now. As one non-Wordler put it, "stop trying to make Wordle sound interesting". But it is interesting. It’s a (maybe) salutary lesson about news and paywalls at a time where NZ news media is crumbling. It’s definitely interesting to the millions of people who play the game daily and want to see how they stack up against each other, the bot… and the world!Admittedly players are fewer than in Wordle’s heyday of 2022 but they are nothing short of committed – you definitely know an addict or two whether you’re aware of them or not.If you are a Wordler, you'll likely already have a view on that paywall and your missing analysis… and I'm guessing you’re conflicted; torn between coughing up, outright quitting and holding out.For those of you who don’t know Wordle, the game gives players a chance to guess one five-letter word within six tries.There’s just one word per day.Every player is competing to guess that same word in the fewest possible attempts.Its compelling social aspect is that players can share and compare their results with friends, without ‘giving the game away’ (pun intended - couldn’t resist) by revealing what the day's winning word actually is.It's this competitive element that has led to the formation of millions of groups around the world within which Wordlers share their results, discuss their inevitable moments of triumph and despair, debate over the best starting words and compare strategies.Lots of people do this. Every day. You may scoff, but this daily kind of commitment has saved at least one life... possibly. In February 2022, Chicago woman Denyse Holt failed to share her daily Wordle score. Her worried daughter convinced Chicago police to do a welfare check on the 80-year-old and it turned out that Denyse was being held hostage by a naked home intruder armed with a pair of scissors.I say, “possibly” because by all accounts, the intruder wasn’t very well mentally and wanted a bath more than to murder (disturbing nonetheless). Google it. You really couldn't make this up.Anyways, it's not just the daily sharing that makes it addictive. Once a player completes the game, the ‘WordleBot’ gives you the option of analysing your performance against itself and (wait for it) … every other player in the world that's played the game that day.It's this addictive competitive assessment that now sits behind the NYT paywall which has some players up in arms, stalking away from years-long streaks and cursing the paper.One X (formerly Twitter) user wrote, “putting my wordle stats behind a paywall is nothing short of demonic behaviour and make no mistake you WILL pay for it someday @NYTGames”.There are many even stronger messages on X but I think that gives you the gist. Does the paywall mean you can't play Wordle anymore? No.It doesn't even mean that you can't play and share your result with your friends.You can still see your stats (how many games you’ve played, won and your current winning streak).It only means that you can’t compare yourself against the bot, or that ‘little black book’ database where you can see your own performance stack up against the world’s.The cost of the paywall? US $1.50 / month for your first year. Not even $20 US a year.It’s a tiny amount. It’s also a deal-breaker.Quality news is expensive. We know that. When The New York Times Company bought Wordle, by their own account they gained an unprecedented tens-of-millions of new users.Players immediately feared the game would be altered or lost to them via a paywall but until recently, NYT had maintained the spirit of its social contract in entirety.And now that’s changing. It’s changing not just there, but everywhere. As another commentator put it, “they bought it, they own it, they can charge for it”. So, where does that leave us? What price a free press?Because if the most ardent Wordlers, the people who have steadfastly given their loyalty to the game and (de facto) to NYT on the daily, over years, have taken such umbrage, publicly decried this betrayal and en masse abandoned their passion… paywalls may not be a halcyon cure for what ails news media providers here and everywhere.My question to you is what would you rather? Advertising? Paying for games? Paying for news? Or should it always be both unencumbered and free?Let us know what you think - email [email protected] or head to our Facebook page and send us a message.As for the grieving Wordlers out there… we’ve loaded some new games for you. You might want to check out Antiwordle (Antiwordle - avoid the secret word daily game).There’s no AntiwordleBot but it could be a new but different love you can play and share for free.

Water fluoridation starting for Waitaki
Water fluoridation starting for Waitaki

12 July 2024, 10:00 AM

Ōamaru’s water supply will be fluoridated from next week.Following certification of the plant equipment, and in line with the statutory duty of mandatory compliance under the Health (Fluoridation of Drinking Water) Amendment Act 2021, the Oamaru water supply will be fluoridated starting next week.The supply will be fluoridated in line with Water Services (Drinking Water Standards for New Zealand) Regulations 2022 and section 116I of the Health (Fluoridation of Drinking Water Amendment Act 2021) as directed by the Director-General of Health at between 0.7 to 1 parts per million.In July 2022, the Director-General of Health directed the Waitaki District Council, under section 116E the Health Act, to add fluoride to the Ōamaru water supply.Waitaki is one of 14 local authorities who were directed to fluoridate their water supplies.The cost of fluoridating the water supply is more than $500,000, including construction of a building to house the necessary equipment.This cost is being fully funded by Manatū Hauora (Ministry of Health), following an application made by the council.The ongoing cost of adding fluoride to the supply will be around $40,000 and is included in the Water Treatment Plant operating budgets.The Oamaru water supply (consisting of Oamaru, Ardgowan, Weston, Enfield, Kakanui, Maheno, Herbert, Hampden and Moeraki) will be fluoridated.This will not affect private water schemes such as Corriedale Water Management Ltd, the Lower Waitaki scheme or supplies in the Waitaki Valley. South of Moeraki (Palmerston, Dunback, Stoneburn) will not be fluoridated.The Waitaki District Council will not be offering a fluoride-free water source in Ōamaru.More information is available on the Waitaki District Council page on the Fluoridation Requirement and the Ministry of Health page regarding fluoridating water supplies.

Firefighters seeking cars for training
Firefighters seeking cars for training

12 July 2024, 12:00 AM

A broken-down car could provide life-saving training for Ōamaru firefighters.The Ōamaru Volunteer Fire Brigade is looking for donations of scrap cars, with glass, so they can practice motor vehicle rescues, senior firefighter Taylor Banks says.“We just need scrap cars with the glass intact, preferably all of it, because we train how to break that all safely. And that's mainly what we do, get someone out of the car, get the glass out of the way safely.”The cars would be used to train both new recruits and experienced firefighters, he says.“It's just for everyone to practice with every now and again, when we can, and just to keep updated and keep fresh with everything.”A new recruit will usually be used as the pretend patient, Taylor says."So we work around cutting them out. It's a lot easier when you can visualise you have someone in the car.”Taylor has cut apart a car before and says it's good to be able to practice so you don't "stress out and you can act under pressure”.“The longer they're trapped in there, stuck in there, the worse they can get, so if we all know how to do it quickly and safely we can work a lot faster to get them out in a quick and safe manner.”Some of the tools the Ōamaru Volunteer Fire Brigade has for rescue calls. Photo: Arrow KoehlerIn 2023 the Ōamaru brigade attended 327 calls, 50 of which were car crashes.Taylor estimates about 90% of those required some sort of tool to get them out. “Even if it's just to break a window or something to get into the car."People wanting to donate a car to the brigade can contact the Ōamaru Volunteer Fire Brigade on Facebook or leave a message on the station phone (03 434 8408) and the car can be picked up.The brigade has two cars so far, but is hoping for more, so members can practice with the jaws of life, spreaders and other rescue tools.

Council moves to a brighter way of lighting Ōamaru
Council moves to a brighter way of lighting Ōamaru

09 July 2024, 11:00 PM

Ōamaru will soon be lit up for less.Work has begun to upgrade streetlights in the town and surrounding areas in an aim to save money and expand their uses.The Waitaki District Council is installing new smart-system control units, which will replace the former photocell receivers and allow the Waitaki District Council to control the lights directly, council roading manager Kushla Tapper says.The lighting system is expected to be operating by mid-August, and will save money by providing more reliable usage data for billing, reducing total power consumption, and reducing electricity drain at peak times.The new systems will be able to “precisely measure what’s being used and give council the opportunity to work on saving power and by dimming lights when needed” although actual savings can not be determined until after the first power bill.The system also has additional functions for the future, including the ability to dim lights during low-use times, turn some lights off completely (such as for dark sky projects or Aurora Australis events) or enable a flashing function during Civil Defence alerts.The project has been budgeted at around $360,000 with the majority of that money spent on the 1550 control units, which were bought and paid for in 2020-2021. The full cost will be known once the work is completed, but it is expected to be under budget, Kushla says.One of the new control units (the blue and white plastic piece), as it will look. Photo: Supplied While the system is being installed, the lights will also be cleaned and inspected.The smart-system will cover the town's streets, but not State Highway 1. While the council is usually responsible for this, that is on hold while the New Zealand Transport Authority Waka Kotahi (NZTA) considers a national management plan for state highway streetlighting."A result of this may be some flickering in our streetlights when they turn on, due to the lights operating on two different systems," Kushla says.The council will work with NZTA on a plan to include the highway network should they require it.

Next generation unlikely to get repeat of Covid wealth boom
Next generation unlikely to get repeat of Covid wealth boom

08 July 2024, 11:22 PM

Susan Edmunds, Money CorrespondentNew Zealand's 2021 surge in wealth has created a "generational divide" of the sort that may never be seen again, economists say.Stats NZ data last week showed New Zealand households were marginally better off in the first three months of this year.It said total household assets increased $10.3 billion or 0.4 percent in the March quarter. Net worth - which is the value of assets minus liabilities such as debt - rose 0.3 percent or $7.8b, to $2.34 trillion.Stats NZ said pension assets, such as KiwiSaver, helped push up the increase.The total value of insurance and pension assets of households rose $8.3b or 5.5 percent compared to December 2023, following a $6.2b increase the previous quarter.Independent economist Shamubeel Eaqub said there had been a permanent wealth divide created by the run-up of wealth during the Covid period. Household wealth rose from $1.82 trillion in June 2020 to $2.49 trillion in December 2021."That's where the landed gentry comes in - those who have it have it and their children benefit. But if you're locked out it becomes a generational lockout."ANZ senior economist Miles Workman said it was unlikely there would be such a sharp increase in wealth for households again, as was seen in 2021. But a repeat would require a significant economic shock, he said."Be careful what you wish for.... the peak was very much consistent with a market that was out of balance and not sustainable."The bulk of New Zealanders' household wealth tends to come from house prices and Workman said there was limited scope for them to drive sustained increases in the near-term.Whether the strength in equity markets persisted to improve KiwiSaver balances was yet to be seen. "Particularly in the US it's been driven by tech stocks recently but we are on the verge of some potentially game-changing technologies so who's to say whether those valuations are appropriate?"The same data showed household net disposable income increased by 6.2 percent during the year, while household spending rose at a slower rate of 5.6 percent in current price terms.Westpac said the average mortgage rate that households were paying had risen from 3.2 percent in 2021 to 6.3 percent."That's drained a lot of money out of households' wallets. For example, if you have an average priced home with an 80 percent mortgage, that change would add around $290 a week to your mortgage bill."ASB senior economist Mark Smith said he expected wealth accumulation at a more sedate pace from here, particularly with regards to house prices."Over a period of time, the value of an asset should grow in line with its income, essentially."He said some people who had seen the value of their properties fall would see a silver lining in the performance of their KiwiSaver balances, but that effect also would not be evenly spread."With Covid, in 2020 there was a huge transfer of income from the government sector to firms and households [through the wage subsidy and other supports] that really helped households out, what we've seen now is various challenges in the household sector, things like the cost of living, eroding the incomes of households."Households in general built up considerable amounts of savings in the early Covid years, the lockdown period... there was a huge transfer of income from government to them but then the past couple of years, households have been steadily running down savings. Now they're running into spending more than they are earning."Households had $243.7b in deposits with registered banks and almost $300b in total loans of which $268b is home loans.

Heritage a focus for CBD revitalisation
Heritage a focus for CBD revitalisation

05 July 2024, 12:59 AM

A meeting to come up with ways to maximise the benefits of Ōamaru's heritage buildings, has kicked off a series of town centre revitalisation projects.The event was held at The Business Hive last week, and was a voluntary collaboration between Heritage New Zealand, Neighbourhood Support, the Ōamaru Blue Penguin Colony and Waitaki District Council.It was targeted at building and business owners, heritage trade experts, and councillors.Invited speakers were Dunedin building owners and heritage development experts, Stephen Macknight and Marcus Wainwright, who are both keen to inspire heritage development and adaptive re-use.Both commented on Ōamaru’s unique heritage areas and the opportunities they present.This was balanced by practical advice around compliance and funding from Susie Farminer of Heritage New Zealand and council heritage advisor Mark Smith.Council business attraction manager Mel Jones says it was “a stimulating evening”.“Encouraging adaptive re-use of buildings was a key theme and The Business Hive a great location to showcase best-in-class work,” she says.The event was part of a larger strategy to “revitalise Ōamaru CBD ensuring it is a thriving centre of our district that is attractive for residents, visitors and businesses”. It is one of five projects in the pipeline.Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher says investing in our heritage buildings is crucial for the district.“So retaining it and giving it new life is a great way to protect what we have.”The conversation around enabling heritage development is an ongoing one, and the council invites contributions from all members of the community, Mel says.

After more than 30 years, Three's evening bulletin bows out
After more than 30 years, Three's evening bulletin bows out

04 July 2024, 11:16 PM

The last-ever Newshub 6pm bulletin airs on Three tonight.After 34 years of bringing the news to the nation, owners Warner Brothers Discovery have axed the programme at the cost of almost 300 jobs.The world was emerging from the gloss-driven excesses of the 1980s when a bold newcomer to New Zealand's media landscape first went to air.In 1989, President George Bush (senior) was inaugurated, the Berlin Wall came down and the New Kids on the Block released "Hangin' Tough".Three News anchor Joanna Paul was one of the first wahine Māori in mainstream media. Photo: Supplied via RNZInaugural anchor Philip Sherry would only last six months before Joanna Paul-Robie - then Joanna Paul - took over.The new show's "only way to go is up" attitude allowed it to experiment with the lighter side of news, especially on the late-night Nightline show, Paul-Robie told RNZ.But the newsroom and their audience leapt to attention when disaster struck. Hilary Barry struggled to contain her emotions while covering the 2011 Christchurch earthquake.Sometimes the channel's reporters found themselves unwitting participants in the headlines of the day.Pam Corkery, at the time press secretary for the Internet MANA coalition party, famously called a reporter a "puffed-up little shit" in 2014.In the mornings, Mark Richardson on AM showed he was not above pushing the buttons of the most powerful woman in the country - asking newly elected Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern if women should tell their boss if they planned to get pregnant before starting a job."It is totally unacceptable in 2017 to say that women should have to answer that question in the workplace," Ardern said at the time.There was a constant tension between providing entertainment and serious commentary, which could sometimes lead to viewers feeling they might witness a sudden car crash - or a not-so-sudden one.Paddy Gower's 2020 election night coverage was something rarely seen on New Zealand television."I see red, I see red, the sea of red destroys National," he said.The loss of nearly 300 roles would have a big impact on the country's already shrunken media landscape, media researcher Gavin Ellis said.Newshub's work had been of a consistently high standard, with bravery and commitment common markers of its coverage."There's more to it than the bulletin that goes to air - it's all the stuff behind it. It's the editors, it's the sound people, the camera people and so on."So many people have gone to make up a worthwhile component of our media that it is so damn sad to see it go."The loss of the platform might best be summed up in Mike McRoberts' words to Hilary Barry, as she stepped down from presenting in 2016."I know I speak for everyone when I say I can't imagine what life is going to be like here without you being around. But we'll deal with that later. Right now I want to say on behalf of everyone. Thank you."Last week, McRoberts spoke to RNZ about that commitment to the job, which had seen him and his workmates facing danger in war zones across the globe."There was a sense of putting your life on the line for this company, for the coverage, for the story, for my colleagues. And to know that's coming to an end is actually really hard to accept."

Providing connection main driver of dementia-friendly efforts
Providing connection main driver of dementia-friendly efforts

04 July 2024, 1:25 AM

Making dementia-friendly resources available is a way of keeping people connected, say Waitaki District Libraries staff.Eileen Armstrong, who works in online customer services at Ōamaru Library, has been the driving force behind the move, after noticing a growing need in the community. “We were having, usually carers or family members, coming into the library looking for assistance, and we sort of just grew it from there, seeing what we could do to help,” Eileen says.She and other library staff have consulted with experts from organisations such as Alzheimer’s Otago, Alzheimer’s New Zealand and Age Concern, in an effort to provide resources designed specially for people living with dementia.“We can't provide that with the building as such, but we've gone about setting up a collection of resources of various types that will hopefully meet those needs, and then the staff have had a lot of training and input into that as well.”The initiative began about April last year at Ōamaru Library, initially, but there are now resources available across the branches in Omarama, Otematata, Kurow, Hampden and Palmerston.“So the Ōamaru collection has been out for about six months, but we've just finalised putting the last collection out to the branches . . . which we were very determined to do, because we are Waitaki District Libraries - it's across the district,” Eileen says. “We've done a lot of consulting, trying to find where to get the resources from, and will it then meet the community needs, because every community is slightly different. “Then we've also been sourcing some funding through different grants and various things as well. Rotary have been very generous,” she says.The process has taken time, as all the work has been on top of library staff’s every day jobs and done in their spare time.The resources include a variety of books and puzzles, polaroid cameras, and music players.‘It's good to have a combination of things . . . with dementia, you know, one day they might like a book, but tomorrow they might like a puzzle, so it's all about just having that variety available," Eileen says.The books and puzzles are specially designed, and although the music players have a retro look, they have music already loaded, and users only need to push a button to make them work.“It's getting things that are quick and easy, because the carers coming in are highly stressed, and very time-poor. So we've tried to make it as stress-free and simple for them as possible - just come in, see what they like, pick it up and take it home.”The team have also created kits themed around books with a particular focus, such as cooking or gardening. These provide activities which can be useful for those visiting a family member or friend with dementia.“It's something that they can share and build new memories with,” she says.Waitaki District Libraries manager Jenny Bean says dementia can be very isolating for both the person affected, and their carers. The library resources, and even visiting the library, are ways of connecting.“It's all about connection. It's connecting people to information and to one another and to the wider community, and that really helps people with dementia, you know,” Jenny says.“Loneliness is the biggest, kind of enemy, of people with dementia and Alzheimer's. They need that connection to the community.“So that sense of isolation is very overwhelming, so anything we can do to bring back some connection.” SInce the dementia-friendly resources have been available, the difference in people has been “remarkable”, both Jenny and Eileen say. “And it's been remarkable for the staff as well,” Jenny says. “I think we've learned so much as a staff.”Waitaki District Libraries is leading the region as a dementia-friendly organisation, she says.“And the feedback that we got from Alzheimer's NZ was that it was one of the best applications they'd ever seen, because we'd really focused on looking at library services systemically.“So not just about the resources that we provide, but how we provide them - the customer service skills that are wrapped around that.” Now that the foundations have been laid, the next steps for the libraries are raising awareness and getting feedback on what else can be done.The library also have a collection of “twiddlemuffs” they give away, which is a knitted muff to keep people’s hands warm, but with things like buttons and knitted flowers attached, and using a mix of textures for fiddling with.“Especially this time of year . . . they're good if you're in the car or in an appointment, waiting. Just something that they can fiddle with,” Eileen says.She and her mother have been knitting the muffs at home, along with Altrusa members and others, while a group at Observatory Village Lifecare knit flowers to be attached.“The community, they just want to contribute but they don't know how a lot of the time. So something like this . . . It's a bit like cancer I think, everyone has been touched by it somewhere.”

Concerns raised as GPs embrace AI to ease workload
Concerns raised as GPs embrace AI to ease workload

03 July 2024, 9:32 PM

GPs say using artificial intelligence (AI) during consultations with patients is taking a load off a severely burnt-out workforce.Hundreds have turned to AI to help manage workloads as burnout and stress hit critical levels.AI is largely unregulated within the health sector.The generative AI listens and creates notes during the consultation and provides a summary which the doctor checks, before copy and pasting it into the patient's file.The transcripts do not identify the patient and AI stores them only temporarily.Wellington GP Richard Medlicott has been using AI for nearly a year and said it has has been helping to manage workloads."Look it's not the key but anything which can help our load is helpful. For me personally partly the time but also that cognitive load. It's really an intense business being a GP, listening carefully, emoting, summarising and that kind of intense conversation you have multiple times a day, can just get mentally tiring."He said he was able to look patients in the eye while they talked and when doing a physical examination, he has to be more communicative for the software to take note.The response from patients has been so good, Dr Medlicott now uses the appointment text reminders to get consent to use the software.Co-owner of Papatoetoe Family Clinic Dr Karl Cole said the software he used, NABLA Copilot, was a gamechanger.He did extensive research under the guidance of the Medical Protection Society to ensure the software has a privacy level he was happy with."The next step is going to be it will be hooked into the health records to guide [doctors]. It will know your age, it will know what problems you've had in the past, perhaps give you prompts to what to do."At the moment I'm staying away from that because I'm very concerned it is not tested correctly."Dr Luke Bradford Photo: Supplied via RNZDr Cole said AI was having an astronomical impact on doctors' wellbeing, with some crediting it for saving them hours of work each day."When we get more tired, and you've seen 35 patients and you're just rushing and you're trying to do five things at once ... it drains you."When I first was using it I felt like I was cheating."But not everyone thinks it's such a good idea just yet.College of GPS medical director Luke Bradford understood the allure of AI."Because it is advancing so quickly, because it hasn't been built through our training and accreditation processes as yet it's really important that we get the ethics and governance in place for use."At present it's really important that we ensure that confidentiality is assured, that sovereignty is assured, that consent occurs."Dr Bradford wanted more regulation to be introduced before AI became mainstream.This comes as the government aims to expand the use of artificial intelligence in the public service, particularly in health and education.

Number of children wagging schools drops slightly
Number of children wagging schools drops slightly

02 July 2024, 11:08 PM

The number of children wagging school dropped slightly in the first school term this year.Figures published on Thursday showed justified absences also fell in term one, despite a slight increase in absences due to illness.The upshot was an uptick in regular attendance from 60 percent in term one last year to 62 percent in term one this year.The figures showed regular attendance, defined as attending more than 90 percent of school time, improved in all regions except north and West Auckland where it was essentially unchanged at 67 percent.Regular attendance improved most in Hawke's Bay Tai Rāwhiti, jumping to 59 percent after dipping to just 49 percent last year due to the effects of Cyclone Gabrielle.'Schools with the highest levels of socioeconomic disadvantage had an average regular attendance rate of 42 percent and at those with the least disadvantage it was 74 percent.The figures showed that slightly more children were off sick in term one this year than in term one last year, but overall the number of justified absences was lower than in 2023.Unjustified absences also dropped due to a fall in truancy, while absences due to holidays during school time were about the same as in term one last year.Just 47 percent of Māori students were regular attenders in term one, while the figure for Asian students was 72 percent."In Term 1 2024, 47.4 percent of ākonga Māori were attending regularly, an increase of 2.5 percentage points; 50.6 percent of Pacific students were attending regularly, an increase of 3.0 percentage points; 72.0 percent of Asian students were attending regularly, an increase of 1.4 percentage points; and 64.4 percent of European/Pākehā were attending regularly, an increase of 1.6 percentage points."Considered by year level, Year 13 students had the lowest rate of regular attendance at just 50 percent."Overall, the regular attendance rate for primary students increased by 3.0 percentage points to 65.6 percent, while the overall rate for secondary students increased by 1.0 percentage point to 55.2 percent," the report said.Associate Education Minister David Seymour said the improvement was encouraging."We have a truancy crisis across the country and attendance data is a way to show people this," he said."We know that for some, there are very real challenges to regular attendance, sometimes beyond their control. The government is looking into what causes truancy with an attendance action plan to help families get students back to school."Seymour said regular attendance pre-Covid in 2019 was 72.8 percent, and the government had a target of ensuring 80 percent of students were present more than 90 percent of the time by 2030.

'Seamless' hospital ownership transfer complete
'Seamless' hospital ownership transfer complete

02 July 2024, 12:39 AM

After 25 years of local ownership, July 1, was the day Ōamaru Hospital once again became Government owned.A morning tea was held yesterday to mark the transfer of ownership from Waitaki District Health Services (WDHS) to Health New Zealand | Te Whatu Ora, a process which has been months in the planning.A smooth transition has been ensured through an agreement by all staff to transfer their contracts to Health NZ, meaning no change will be noticed by hospital users, the Waitaki District Council said in a statement.  Council chief executive Alex Parmley says ensuring staff are looked after and services will not be affected is important for the community. “With the transfer today, we’ve ensured a sustainable future for the Ōamaru Hospital.”Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher says the transfer is “bittersweet”.“And it’s a good time to recognise the many, many people who served the community at Ōamaru Hospital over the last 25 years. “Thanks to them, and to the hospital staff and management who continue to provide essential services for the Waitaki District.”Particular thanks was offered to WDHS board chair and former hospital chief executive Keith Marshall, fellow board members, and hospital co-chief executives Andrea Cairns and Hugh Kettlewell, for their leadership efforts to ensure the district retained a hospital, and in supporting the transfer.Health NZ Southern Group operations director Hamish Brown says the day has been significant for staff as they move under the umbrella of the national health system.“This is a big change for everyone but I thank the staff and leadership of WDHS for working with us to make this a seamless transition for the Waitaki community.“Health NZ is also committed to working with the community, the Waitaki District Council, and other stakeholders to achieve better health service access and outcomes for the Waitaki community through the Te Waka Hauora o Waitaki Health Futures Project.”As part of council’s continuing relationship with Health NZ, Mr Parmley and councillor Tim Blacker have been appointed by the council to the Te Waka Hauora o Waitaki Health Futures project, and will be involved in developing a better health care services model for the district.

1-20 of 709