News of Zealand

News of Zealand: Kava Club Accused of Disregarding Pacific Cultural Roots

Quarter of a million people given temporary work visas in the last year and dengue fever kills 300 in Sri Lanka.
July 25, 2017, 10:23pm
Image via Flickr user Dave Lonsdale

All you need to know about the world this morning, curated by 95bFM and VICE NZ.


Kava Club Accused of Stripping Pacific Cultural Roots
A social kava-drinking club in Auckland has sparked fierce debate around the appropriation of Pacific culture. The Kava Society meets weekly to sample different varieties of the drink and says their interest lies in the biology of the plant, rather than in the cultural practice. However, Fijian teacher Emmaline Matagi said the group is offensive and that it disregards the ceremonial roots kava has within her culture. AUT PhD student Edmond Fehoko, who completed his Masters on kava ceremonies for New Zealand-born Tongan men, said there has been a distinct move to more informal ceremonies in recent times times. He said the Kava Society is no different to modern ones in that respect, and that the only difference is the colour of their skin.

Work Visas on the Rise
The number of work visas issued has reached an all-time high of a quarter of a million. More than 226,000 people were approved in the 2016/2017 financial year, an increase of 17,000 on the previous year. The biggest jump was in the study-to-work visas, which climbed by 6,000, and the working-holiday, visa which increased by 5,000. Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse said he was confident jobs were not being taken away from New Zealanders. This week the Government said it would take another look at proposed changes to skilled-migrant visas after complaints from some industries reliant on overseas workers.


Bacterial Infection Discovered in South Island Cows
The Ministry for Primary Industries is investigating the discovery of a contagious disease recently found in a herd of South Island cattle. The bacterial infection, called Mycoplasma bovis, mainly affects cow's udders, and could affect the dairy industry if it spreads. According to the Ministry's director of response, Geoff Gwyn, the disease does not infect humans and presents no food-safety risk. Mycoplasma bovis has never before been reported in New Zealand.

BSA Calls for Common Sense on Social Media
The Broadcasting Standards Authority (BSA) has warned New Zealanders to be careful about what they post on social media. This follows a recent study by the BSA, which found many people were uncomfortable with how broadcasters took posts from social media, removing them from their original context. Chief executive Belinda Moffat told 95bFM people must understand that social media is not a private platform, but wants wider discussion around the issue. "We are inviting a conversation about do we need to have further guidelines and what they might look like," said Moffat. "Having said that, the research is certainly saying to broadcasters 'you do need to account of the original context of the social media publication before it's republished.'" The BSA recommends broadcasters consider the ethics of consent before taking things from social media.


Sri Lanka's Dengue Fever Outbreak Leaves Almost 300 Dead
The Sri Lankan ministry of health revealed that 296 people have died of dengue fever this year, as the country struggles with an ongoing outbreak of the mosquito-borne disease. The Red Cross is set to spend an additional $300,000 on treatment and efforts to prevent the disease from spreading beyond the more than 100,000 people already infected.

Swiss Police Search for Chainsaw Attacker
Police are still searching for a man suspected of attacking and wounding five people with a chainsaw Monday in an insurance company office in the Swiss town of Schaffhausen. Law enforcement identified the suspect as Franz Wrousis, 51. Chief prosecutor Peter Sticher said Wrousis was "aggressive, dangerous, and mentally conspicuous."

MS Paint Has Been Saved
Following an outpouring of love from across the internet, Microsoft has agreed to save MS Paint by making it available in the Windows Store. The company announced earlier this week that the 32-year-old Paint "was not in active development and might be removed in future releases" of Windows. The announcement was met with an outpouring of support and nostalgia for the much-loved programme. Its new home means it will be still available free of charge, but will not come as a core part of the Windows suite.

Canadian Sect Leaders Convicted of Polygamy
Two senior members of a religious sect in the Canadian province of British Columbia have been found guilty of offenses relating to polygamy. Winston Blackmore married 25 women and James Oler married five in Bountiful, a community forged as an escape from the Mormon Church. Both men now face up to five years in prison.

'Despacito' Team Condemns Venezuelan President
Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee have condemned Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro after he changed the lyrics to "Despacito" in a bid to boost support for his plan to change the constitution. Fonsi said the music was "not to be used as propaganda," while Yankee said Maduro had "illegally appropriated" the song.

Reporting by Katie Doyle, Alessandra Nixon and Josh Storey.