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Your Monday News of Zealand: NZ's Best Olympics Ever and How to Get Cannabis Past Customs

Also, same-sex marriage law has been great for international tourism, cows could be to blame for Havelock North's shitty water supply and a new national day to commemorate the Land Wars.

by VICE Staff
21 August 2016, 9:28pm

Nick Willis competes in the Olympic 1500m final. Image via.

RIO GAMES Are New Zealand'S Best Olympic Performance Ever

The New Zealand team will arrive home from Rio on Wednesday with a record haul of Olympic medals. Runner Nick Willis put on a withering sprint to take bronze in the rough-and-tumble 1500m yesterday, taking New Zealand's medal tally to 18. Willis, 33, won silver in the same event at Beijing 2008 and was always going to be a strong medal contender. But expectations were no guarantee at a games where the men's rugby sevens, equestrian and cycling teams failed to deliver medals as hoped.

Making their Olympic debuts, pole vaulter Eliza McCartney and shot putter Tomas Walsh surprised by both winning bronze in their events. World number one golfer Lydia Ko had a shaky start but nailed a hole-in-one to grab the silver. And another world champion, sprint canoeist Lisa Carrington, was given the honours of carrying the flag at the closing ceremony for being the first New Zealand female athlete to win two medals – gold and bronze – at a single Olympic Games.

Nelson Woman Proves You Can Bring Cannabis Into New Zealand Legally

A cannabis campaigner is setting up a how-to guide for bringing medicinal marijuana into New Zealand after she successfully got an ounce past Customs at Auckland Airport. Rebecca Reider, a Californian living in Nelson, was prescribed the cannabis for chronic pain while she was away in Hawaii. A "loophole" in the law means anyone entering the country can lawfully carry with them one-month supply of all medicinal products, including cannabis, as long as they are prescribed overseas. Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne acknowledged earlier in the year that the law could potentially allow people to bring medicinal cannabis into the country. Dunne said he had no intention of changing the "loophole".

Nearly Half of All Same-Sex Weddings Are Overseas Couples

More than 2000 same-sex couples have wed since gay marriage was made legal in New Zealand three years ago. When the Marriage Amendment Bill came into effect on August 19, 2013 it was a huge step for equality allowing people to marry regardless of their sex, sexual orientation or gender. It's also been good news for the tourism industry. Of the 2119 same-sex couples that got married in the past three years, 970 have travelled from overseas. Most of the international couples are from Australia, where same-sex marriage is illegal. Labour Party MP Louisa Wall, who sponsored the bill, said there was one hitch with the legislation. If an overseas couple want to get legally divorced, at least one of them has to be a resident of New Zealand. "We didn't future proof the bill but the government is looking into it," Wall told Radio New Zealand.

Cow Shit Could Be to Blame for Havelock North's Contaminated Water Supply

It's been nearly two weeks since Havelock North's town water supply became contaminated with campylobacter and the cause of New Zealand's largest outbreak of waterborne disease is still a mystery. More than 4000 people suffered from gastric illness, 17 people are still in hospital and tests confirmed an 89-woman who died had contracted campylobacter. Hastings mayor Lawrence Yule told Radio New Zealand cattle, sheep and deer were the likely culprits. He said heavy rain had probably washed livestock faeces into the water supply. "It's very hard to explain it in any other way," said Yule. "I've been a farmer, I'm an engineer, and it looks likely that somehow that has occurred." Interim test results from the Institute of Environmental Science and Research appear to back up Yule's view.

A memorial to the New Zealand Wars at the Auckland War Memorial Museum. Image via

New Zealand Gets New National Day to Commemorate Land Wars

A petition started by high school students on the streets of Otorohonga has led to the government approving a new national day to commemorate the New Zealand Land Wars. Last year, students at Otorohonga College collected 12,000 signatures calling for a day to remember the wars between Maori and British forces that took place 150 years ago. Deputy Prime Minister Bill English made the announcement at Turangawaewae Marae on Saturday during a special ceremony for the Maori King in which the Crown handed ownership of the Rangiriri pa site back to Waikato-Tanui. Rahui Papa, spokesman for Maori King Tuheitia, told Stuff he hoped the day would heighten exposure for what happened on local battlefields in the same way that ANZAC Day had led to greater awareness of the battle of ANZAC Cove. The date of Land Wars Day is still being decided. Minister of Maori Affairs, Te Ururoa Flavell said it would not be a public holiday, but that could potentially change in the future.

And in case you missed it, this is what's been going on at VICE NZ.

Image by Bas van Est

Photos of Disappearing Doha

New Zealander photographer Bas van Est takes eerily beautiful images of old Doha before it crumbles in the face of relentless development.

Middle Distance Old Dog Nick Willis Runs into the History Books

Running against the ghosts of Jack Lovelock, Peter Snell and John Walker, Nick Willis joins the great New Zealand tradition of 1500m runners and becomes the oldest Olympic medallist in the event ever. "I ran right at the front and it got my head back into it, like at high school – that competitive instinct."

Detail from First Time by Ant Sang, published in Aotearotica

I Asked My Sister Some Awkward Questions About Starting New Zealand's First Erotica Journal

As a journalist, I wanted to ask Laura about starting her own publication, Aotearotica. As a brother, I knew talking to your sister about erotica could be weird.

What I Learned Flatting with a Gang Prospect

Over the few weeks that we lived together, he taught me more than a semester of uni ever could've and then, very quickly, destroyed my awesome living setup.

I Spent a Night Out with Wellington's Most Elusive Street Artist

If you live in Wellington, you know BENT's work. His massive pigeon paste-ups and their beady eyes are all over the city. Tailing him at midnight, I got to see they are just a small part of what he's been doing in the capital.