It’s raining. It’s pouring. Wairarapa drivers, heed the weather warnings.

Source: New Zealand Transport Agency

People travelling on State Highway 2 and State Highway 53 in Wairarapa tomorrow will need to monitor the weather and road conditions closely.

The Metservice has issued a series of weather warnings and watches for the east coast of the North Island, including a Heavy Rain Watch for the Wairarapa district.

The warning applies for 21 hours from midday Tuesday, with heavy rain forecast for the region.

Wet roads are slippery roads, so all road users must drive to the conditions.

The usual safety tips apply. Watch your following distances, reduce your speed, avoid sudden braking, and turn your headlights on if visibility is poor. Be seen, be safe.

Heavy rain also increases the risk of slips, treefalls, and localised flooding. Drivers must be prepared for road hazards.

Bad weather can also close roads at short notice. It is recommended that you check weather and road conditions before you travel. Updates and information can be found online.

Respect orca by keeping drones at a distance

Source: Department of Conservation

Date:  20 May 2024

Orca are the second-most widely distributed mammal on earth (after humans), and can be found throughout New Zealand’s coastline. Our waters are home to an estimated 150–200 individuals, which travel long distances throughout the country’s coastal waters, and are considered nationally critical.

One of the greatest threats to orca/whales/tohora is disturbance by traffic like boats and aircraft. While far smaller, flying drones in the vicinity of marine mammals (such as whales, dolphins, and seals) is also an offence under the Marine Mammals Protection Act 1978, as it can be highly disturbing to the animals.

Russell Hughes, Ranger Marine Reserves, says these issues are usually down to a misunderstanding of how to interact with these creatures.

“We don’t think anyone is acting maliciously, so we want to help people understand how to enjoy orca without accidentally harming them,” says Russell.

“Operators and individuals alike require a permit to deviate from these specific rules due to the respect and sensitivity of these magnificent creatures.”

“These rules are in place to help us all protect a truly amazing marine biodiversity that we are privileged to have in the waters of Aotearoa. It is amazing to see them, we just need to give them the respect they deserve.”

To avoid disturbing or harassing marine mammals, you must:

  • fly no closer than 150 m horizontally from a point directly above any marine mammal
  • not disturb or harass any marine mammal with your drone; eg don’t chase, herd or scatter them
  • not make any sudden or repeated change in speed or direction
  • not make any loud or disturbing noises near marine mammals
  • abandon contact at the first sign of any marine mammal being disturbed.

You should:

  • take off at least 100 m from any marine mammal on the shore or the land
  • not fly within 300 m of any marine mammal if there are already three drones, other aircraft, or boats within 300 m of that marine mammal
  • keep at least 50 m from any other drone.

If you want to fly your drone closer than 150 m horizontally from a marine mammal, whether commercially or recreationally, you must have a permit from DOC.

If you see or experience inappropriate drone use report it to your local DOC office or call our emergency hotline 0800 DOC HOT (0800 362 468).


Health New Zealand – Te Whatu Ora Waikato Midwife of the Year 2024

Source: Waikato District Health Board

Held each year on 5 May, the International Day of the Midwife, celebrates the work and contribution midwives make to newborn and maternal health.

A key part of these celebrations is the announcement of the winner of the annual Health New Zealand – Te Whatu Ora Waikato Midwife of the Year award.

From a talented field of nominees, the 2024 award winner was Nicki Tames, a Registered Midwife in Ward E2 at Waikato Hospital.

Nicki’s nomination described her as a midwife making a real difference who has a passion for providing the best experience for women no matter the reason they are in hospital.

“Nicki really gets to know the women she cares for and provides such a ‘mothering’ experience. She thinks holistically in all her care plans and will always involve whānau.

“Nicki is able to really improve a mother’s experience by simply listening to her concerns and offering ideas that show she had thought about the mother’s mental and physical health and she is always ready to guide and support colleagues in thinking more holistically.”

The criteria for the award is a registered midwife who makes a real difference to the areas they work in. This could be related to improvement in experience and/or safety of women, pregnant people and whānau, it may encompass innovation, improvements to a wider team, or implementing process changes.

Pictured: Nicki Tames on receiving her award

New strategic direction for WorkSafe

Source: Worksafe New Zealand

WorkSafe has launched its new strategy, with a focus on making a measurable difference to the most serious harm in New Zealand workplaces.

As the primary health and safety at work regulator, WorkSafe’s role is to influence businesses to carry out their responsibilities – and to hold them to account if they don’t.   

“Ten years on from WorkSafe’s inception, our refreshed strategy is about delivering what New Zealanders expect of their work health and safety regulator. We will work with businesses, workers, and other key players in the system to reduce harm and improve health and safety at work for everyone,” says WorkSafe’s Board Chair, Jennifer Kerr. 

The strategy defines the wider health and safety at work system (te aronga matua) and reflects our role in the system (kawa), how we will undertake that role (tikanga), where we will focus our effort (kaupapa), and how we will measure our impact (mātauranga). 

Every year 50–60 people are killed at work and 400–500 hospitalised with a serious work-related injury (acute harm), and an estimated 750-900 people die because of work-related ill health (chronic harm).   

“While these awful figures have steadily reduced over time, there is a long way to go and much work to do by everyone who can influence health and safety in our workplaces,” says Jennifer Kerr. “We also know that harm does not occur equally, and it is imperative that we remain focused on reducing these unacceptable harm inequities.” 

Read WorkSafe’s strategy

WorkSafe Strategy (PDF 4.7 MB)

Māori are more concerned about privacy in every way

Source: Privacy Commissioner

A recent study of New Zealander’s attitudes to privacy shows higher levels of concern among Māori.

The biennial privacy survey of nearly 1200 New Zealanders (including over 320 Māori) was released last week to mark Privacy Week 2024.

Pou Ārahi at the Office of the Privacy Commissioner, Shane Heremaia (Ngati Tūwharetoa, Te Arawa), says the survey showed Māori are more concerned about privacy in every way.

“Total concern for individual privacy was higher across Māori respondents, as was the rate who had become more concerned about these issues over the last few years.

“Privacy concerns drive behaviour. A standout example among Māori is that one in three (33%) stated that in the past 12 months they’ve avoided contacting a government department due to privacy concerns. For non-Māori that figure is one in seven (14%).”

Māori are more likely to also have avoided doing a range of other activities due to privacy concerns, including using social media (44% v 32% non-Māori), online shopping (43% to 26%), online dating (41% v 26%), signing up for loyalty cards (36% v 22%) or visiting a particular place due to surveillance concerns (30% v 14%).

“Māori were also more likely to express concern about bias in facial recognition. This included being concerned about it being used without people being told or agreeing to it, its use in retail stores to identify individuals and its use by law enforcement to identify individuals in public spaces.

“Facial recognition is clearly an issue for Māori. This reflects concerns expressed by the Privacy Commissioner about bias and accuracy in the use of facial recognition technology and how he’s worried about what this means for Māori, Pasifika, Indian, and Asian shoppers, especially when the software is not trained on New Zealand’s population.”

The survey also shows that Māori are more concerned about children’s privacy, with 88% wanting the government to pass more legislation that protects children’s privacy, while 80% said that protecting children’s information was a major concern in their life, which is significantly higher than the 59% figure for non-Māori.

One positive development was that 54% of Māori are aware that the Privacy Act gives them rights to a copy of any personal information an organisation holds about them. While this is an increase from 50% in 2022, there is still a lot of room to make people more aware of their privacy rights and what they can do if their rights are breached.

“It’s clear Māori are increasingly aware of the importance of privacy and are wanting greater control of their personal privacy. There’s also greater understanding of the possible negative consequences new technology like facial recognition technology might have and it’s important Māori views regarding privacy are represented and understood”.

Health New Zealand – Te Whatu Ora Waikato Nurse of the Year 2024

Source: Waikato District Health Board

The Health New Zealand | Te Whatu Ora Waikato Nurse of the Year Award for 2024 was celebrated at Waikato Hospital last week.

The event coincided with International Nurses Day which had a theme of “Our Nurses, Our Future”, and was an opportunity for nurses to celebrate the success of their peers.

From a strong field of 23 nominees, the recipient of the 2024 Nurse of the Year award was Marion Sanders who works in the Mothercraft service located at the Waterford Birthing Centre.

Marion Sanders, Waikato Nurse of the Year 2024

Marion Sanders, Registered Nurse in Mothercraft played a pivotal role in the planning and execution of two relocations of Mothercraft from its original home of 50 years in 2022.

The positivity, initiative and sheer hard work demonstrated by Marion was described by her peers in her nomination as role modelling what an expert, dedicated nurse should look like.

Her nomination described Marion as an avid advocate for her service and for women and their babies, Marion’s expert nursing knowledge of families and the community which she shares with colleagues and whānau is greatly respected.

Receiving the 2024 award, Marion said she was overwhelmed and humbled given the high standard of nursing demonstrated by the 23 nominees.

The award recognises a nurse who has made a real difference to the area they work in. This difference could be related to improved patient experience and/or patient safety. The improvement could encompass innovation, improvements to team dynamics, patient care or implementing process changes.

Pictured is 2024 Health NZ Waikato Nurse of the Year, Marion Sanders with interim Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer, Noel Watson

EIT Services Pathway programme in Waikato prepares single mother for police service | EIT Hawke’s Bay and Tairāwhiti

Source: Eastern Institute of Technology – Tairāwhiti

5 mins ago

Jess Hohepa is enjoying her time on the EIT Services Pathway programme and is looking forward to becoming a police officer.

Completing a new Services Pathway programme offered by EIT in Waikato, has set a single mother up for a career as a police officer.

Jess Hohepa (Raukawa ki wharepuhunga Tuwharetoa Tainui Ngati Maniapoto and Te Arawa) is currently enrolled in the Services Pathway programme at EIT and upon completion will then go down to Police College in Wellington to become a police officer.

It is a dream that the 31-year-old has had for years, but has only recently pursued seriously.

Born and bred in Te Awamutu, Jess grew up with te reo as her first language and completed her schooling at Te Awamutu College.  She was initially drawn to a career in nursing and enrolled in a foundation programme at the Manukau Institute of Technology (MIT) before starting the Bachelor of Nursing.

However, she soon realised that nursing was not for her.

“I thought I could handle the sight of blood, but it turned out not to be the case.”

She returned to the Kohanga Reo in Te Awamutu which she had attended as a student and became a kaiāwhina.

She was there for about four years, but moved into different jobs after that.

“I pretty much went from job to job after that to find my feet on what I really wanted to do. Don’t get me wrong, being a police officer was always my dream but what was holding me back was that I didn’t have my full license. I was still on a restricted, so I had to make sure that I had my full licence before I could apply.”

It was the birth of her daughter, Satieva-Jade, in 2019 that motivated Jess to get her full driver’s licence so that “she was safe in the vehicle with me”.

Jess devoted the next few years to caring for her daughter, which Jess felt was important “because those are the most important times of their life”.

“Satieva-Jade going back to school was my motivation to make my dream come true.”

That dream began when Jess was told that EIT was starting a Services Pathway programme in Hamilton, where she was based.

She is loving the programme, which has ten other learners under tutor Zac Te Maro.

“The progamme was not very well known in Hamilton, but Matua (Zac) has done a pretty good job with recruiting. He is also an amazing tutor. If it weren’t for him I wouldn’t be as far as I am today.”

“The best thing I like about the programme is the consistency really, and the planning that goes on throughout the day. “

Fitness and exercise is an important part of the programme and Jess says she was encouraged by Zac to simply do the best she could.

With the programme coming to an end, Jess is now poised to go down to Police College in Wellington for 20 weeks. She is looking forward to it, secure in the knowledge that Satieva-Jade will be taken care of.

“She’s got a lot of support here, so I can go off and do what I need to do to make her future brighter.”

Jess is looking forward to becoming a police officer and is keen to eventually work in the canine squad.

“I absolutely love dogs and have had them since I was young.”

EIT Services Pathway Tutor in Hamilton Zac Te Maro said: “At the pre-course interview it was evident Jess was going to be a police officer.”

“She clearly articulated why she wanted to be a police officer and how she planned to go about achieving her dream. Jess’s maturity (in terms of life experience) and natural leadership qualities were evident early in the course. Younger students have turned to Jess for guidance and mutual support.”

“Jess has worked hard to achieve outstanding results to date. A lover of sports, Jess’s physical attributes stand out and will be well suited for a career with police. She continues to reduce her run times in preparation for the police Physical Assessment Test (PAT).”

Zac says that on a recent excursion to Waiouru involving 40 EIT students from Hawkes Bay, Tairāwhiti and Kirikiriroa Hamilton, tutors recognised Jess for her sound leadership and physical resilience.

“It is without a doubt, Jess will serve her community with pride and professionalism. It has been an absolute pleasure being involved in Jess’s journey and EIT wish her well for the future.”

Overnight road closure on HB Expressway for urgent median barrier rope repair

Source: New Zealand Transport Agency

Two stretches of State Highway 2 / Hawke’s Bay Expressway will close overnight on Sunday (19 May) for urgent repairs to median barrier wire rope.

One section of wire rope was extensively damaged in a crash last night around 7pm which saw the Expressway closed for a time between Watchman Road near Hawke’s Bay Airport and Prebensen Drive.

The damage to the wire rope has meant a temporary speed limit of 50 km/h remains in place, and will remain in place until the wire rope is repaired.

Transport Rebuild East Coast crews are also taking the opportunity to repair another section of wire rope, further south.

Sign posted detours will be in place for all vehicles and are as follows:

  • ROAD CLOSURE between Meeanee Rd and Taradale Rd from 8pm-12am on Sunday 19 May. Southbound road users will be detoured via Taradale Rd, Kennedy Rd, Gloucester St, Guppy Rd and Meeanee Rd. Reverse for Northbound. HPMVs detour, via Taradale Rd, Kennedy Rd, Gloucester St, Lee Rd, and Meeanee Rd.
  • ROAD CLOSURE between Watchman Rd and Prebensen Dr between 12am-5am on Monday 20 May. Please use Meeanee Quay, Pandora Rd, Hyderabad Rd and Prebensen Dr. This route is suitable for all vehicles.

NZ Transport Agency Waka Kotahi acknowledges the inconvenience these overnight detours will cause, and thanks all road users for their support.

Road users are advised to drive carefully and to the conditions and to be aware of the temporary speed restriction in place between Watchman Road and Prebensen Drive until the closure.

Snow this weekend southern and central South Island/Te Waipounamu

Source: New Zealand Transport Agency

MetService is forecasting a cold front bringing snow to road level from the Milford Road and Southland over Otago into South Canterbury and the southern lakes area this weekend, says NZ Transport Agency Waka Kotahi (NZTA).

The snow is forecast to hit the road around 7 am Saturday at the southern end on the Milford Road. “The front may stall for a time,” says MetService, which could result in heavy snow in some places.

NZTA’s Southland and Otago Journey Manager Nicole Felts advises people who are driving along these routes to be prepared for snow, to drive to the conditions and check the NZTA traffic and travel maps and MetService updates ahead of setting off.


The front is forecast to move across north and north-west Southland from early Saturday, clearing from the south midday Saturday.

SH94 Gore/Mossburn to Te Anau, the Milford Road, and SH6 Invercargill to Queenstown, could get 2-3 cm of snow to 400 metres. Between Athol and Kingston, up to 9 cm of snow could settle.

People should also watch for ice early Sunday, says Miss Felts.

Lindis Pass later on Saturday could get more snow – up to 20 cm

Although only 1-3 cm of snow is forecast for Porters Pass on SH73 west of Springfield, the Lindis Pass, SH8 linking Otago and Canterbury between Cromwell and Omarama could get 10-20 cm from noon Saturday through to early Sunday morning.

Anyone driving these routes, as well as Burkes Pass, the entrance to the Mackenzie District, around Lake Tekapo and Twizel and SH80 the highway into Mt Cook/ Aoraki should be prepared, says NZTA.

People should expect disruptions during this time and if they can avoid travelling overnight Saturday in these areas, that would be wise.

“Get to where you are going early, rather than later,” says Miss Felts.

Tips for driving in icy or light snow conditions:

  • Drive slower than normal
  • Slow ahead of bridge decks and shaded parts of the highway where it can be slippery with black ice a possibility.
  • Avoid sudden braking or turning movements that can cause you to skid
  • Gritted roads will help give traction but also require a slower speed
  • Use your highest gear when travelling uphill and your lowest downhill
  • Double the two second following rule at least – it takes longer to stop on ice
  • If it is foggy, drive with your lights dipped
  • Plan your trip to avoid the coldest times of the day or night if you can.

National Severe Weather Information – MetService is New Zealand’s only authorised provider of Severe Weather Alerts(external link)

From the MetService 2 pm this afternoon – Friday, 17 May

Heavy Snow Watch

Canterbury High Country south of the Rangitata River

  • Period: 21hrs from 3pm Sat, 18 May – noon Sun, 19 May
  • Forecast: Heavy snowfall is possible above 500 metres where amounts may approach, or even exceed, warning criteria.

Southern Lakes, and Central Otago north of Alexandra

  • Period: 24hrs from 6am Sat, 18 May – 6am Sun, 19 May
  • Forecast: Heavy snowfall is possible above 600 metres where amounts may approach, or even exceed, warning criteria.
  • Road Snowfall Warning

Porters Pass (SH73)

  • Period: 10hrs from 9pm Sat, 18 May – 7am Sun, 19 May
  • Forecast: 1 – 3 cm of snow could accumulate near the summit with lesser amounts to 800 metres.

Haast Pass (SH6)

  • Period: 30hrs from midnight Fri, 17 May – 6am Sun, 19 May
  • Forecast: 3 – 5 cm of snow could accumulate on the road.

Lindis Pass (SH8)

  • Period: 22hrs from noon Sat, 18 May – 10am Sun, 19 May
  • Forecast: 10 – 20 cm of snow could accumulate near the summit with lesser amounts to 300 metres.

Crown Range Road

  • Period: 9hrs from 8am – 5pm Sat, 18 May
  • Forecast: 2 – 4 cm of snow (possibly more) could accumulate near the summit with lesser amounts to 400 metres.

Milford Road (SH94)

  • Period: 6hrs from 7am – 1pm Sat, 18 May
  • Forecast: 3 – 5 cm of snow (possibly more) could accumulate above 700 metres, with lesser amounts to 400 metres.

Road snowfall warnings(external link)

Overnight closures on SH25 at Hikuai for essential bridge maintenance

Source: New Zealand Transport Agency

State Highway 25, south of Tairua, will be closed overnight to all traffic for 5 nights between 8pm and 6am from Sunday 19 May.

This is to allow for essential maintenance and repairs to the single lane Hikuai Stream bridge, just south of Tairua. 

Affected road users will need to detour via SH25, looping through Coromandel township.

While this is essential maintenance work, we do appreciate this road closure involves a lengthy detour and will be disruptive.

Work includes digging out and replacing capping beams – components that span the full width of the road at each end of the bridge. Steel plates will be placed over these excavations, and a temporary speed restriction will be in place, allowing traffic to cross safely during the day.

We’ll also be doing some further maintenance during this closure, including resurfacing the eastern approach to the bridge and repairs to the bridge deck.

This work is weather dependent.  

NZTA explored the option of opening the road for a short period each night to allow convoys of traffic to pass, however this would impact work progress and extend overall disruption as additional night closures would be required.

Emergency services will be accommodated if required.