Good News: Stories that cheered us up for the week 13-19 May


Photo: RNZ

High school bands go into battle, a breeding breakthrough for endangered giant wētā and one school’s anti-plastics patrol are among this week’s feel-good stories from RNZ.

Record numbers for battle of the bands


Photo: Matt Ealand

The number of bands entered in this year’s Rockquest is “ridiculous – in the most positive way”, according to the competition’s general manager. More than 3000 participants have entered and performed at 45 regional events this weekend, hoping to advance to the national finals. General Manager of Rockquest Promotions Group Matt Ealand told students and rangatahi wanted to be engaged in positive outcomes in their lives, and Rockquest provided a platform for that.

Breeding breakthrough for giant wētā

This Mahoenui giant wētā being held by Ōtorohanga Kiwi House wildlife manager Mathew Ronaldson is a grown female.

This Mahoenui giant wētā being held by Ōtorohanga Kiwi House wildlife manager Mathew Ronaldson is a grown female.
Photo: RNZ/Libby Kirkby-McLeod

For the first time in decades, the critically threatened Māhoenui giant wētā has been bred in captivity. A new center at Ōtorohanga Kiwi House was initially designed using breeding protocols for other wētā, but the local Māhoenui wētā – found in the wilds of Māhoenui Scientific Reserve – preferred a different type of soil. A nearby farm in Waitomo happily provided the soil and now the wētāpunga are breeding. The Kiwi House aims to breed 3000 Māhoenui giant wētā for release.

Help for homeless youth

Youth worker Aaron Hendry and part of The Front Door team in May 2024 as their emergency center prepares to open.

Youth worker Aaron Hendry and part of The Front Door team as their emergency center prepares to open.
Photo: Rayssa Almeida

A 24-hour emergency center for youth has opened in central Auckland. Youth worker Aaron Hendry and his wife, Summer, dug into their own pockets to build a service that will offer wraparound support for young people sleeping rough, including 24/7 accommodation. The first stage of the pilot program called Kick Back, the first of its kind in New Zealand, opened this month. The center on Karangahape Road in central Auckland allows young people to drop in and be connected with youth workers straight away.

The plastic police on patrol

Stanhope Road School


Photo: Marika Khabazi

The average Kiwi gets through a kilogram of soft plastic packaging every year. Stanhope Road School is trying to reduce their reliance on packaged food and their impact on the environment, one lunchbox at a time. Before the students tuck into their lunches, “waste management officers” – dressed in vibrant green vests – check their fellow pupils’ lunch boxes. The classes with the least amount of plastic waste win a toy rubbish truck, encouraging them all to reduce it each week and think of innovative ways to do so.

School gets cycling from donated bikes

Shyanne Bade learning some bike maintenance with Bike Hub Nelson co-founder Bevan Woodward. Samantha Gee RNZ.

Shyanne Bade learning some bike maintenance with Bike Hub Nelson co-founder Bevan Woodward.
Photo: RNZ / Samantha Gee

Students at Salisbury School now have a fleet of bicycles they can ride again, after Bike Hub Nelson pitched in to repair nearly 20 bikes that had failed into disrepair. Co-ordinator Matt Lawrey said the organization launched two years ago – with volunteers fixing donated bikes to give back to the community. The founders were not sure if the concept would work, but it had exceeded expectations, with more than 2000 bikes being rehomed.

Building waste finds a new home

Vicki Buck says the Trash 2 Treasure scheme has proven popular in its first week.

Vicki Buck says the Trash 2 Treasure scheme has proven popular in its first week.
Photo: Supplied

A Christchurch environmental group, Trash 2 Treasure, is working with local construction firms to keep leftover building materials out of landfill. Spokesperson Vicki Buck said the aim was to make it easy for builders to allow any leftover construction waste to be reused, rather than going to the dump or to waste. The scheme had only been operating for a week, but had already had a sizeable delivery from Naylor Love, including reinforcing mesh, which goes inside concrete but is really good for growing plants.

 
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