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Category Archives: New Zealand

New Zealand overcome Wales in convincing win to return to top of world rankings – ESPN

Posted: November 5, 2021 at 10:09 pm

Beauden Barrett marked his 100th test with two intercepted tries to lead New Zealand to a convincing 54-16 win over Wales in Cardiff on Saturday.

The All Blacks outscored their hosts by seven tries to one at a capacity Principality Stadium in another ominous reminder of their power as they went back to the top of the world rankings.

TJ Perenara, Will Jordan, Dalton Papali, Sevu Reece and Anton Lienart-Brown also dotted down with Jordie Barrett adding three penalties and five conversions for a personal tally of 19 points.

Wales, who lost skipper Alun Wyn Jones to injury early on, replied with a try from Johnny Williams and penalties from Gareth Anscombe (2) and Rhys Priestland.

2 Related

Captain Jones, in his 149th appearance for Wales, was forced off with a shoulder injury as he attempted to tackle Jordie Barrett. It was the same one dislocated playing for the British & Irish Lions against Japan in June.

New Zealand ran riot in the final 20 minutes with a display of running rugby that even the most ardent Welsh supporters could not help but admire, but it was Barrett's early try that laid the platform for their victory.

The former World Rugby Player of the year took only five minutes to intercept a pass from Wales fly-half Gareth Ainscombe and run down the pitch to dot between the posts.

Perenara added another try about 30 minutes later but the All Blacks had a tenuous 18-6 lead at half time and started the second half down to 14 men when Nepo Laulale was yellow-carded for a no-arm tackle on Ross Moriarty.

But when the rain began to pour, the Kiwis were at their devastating best with a clever kick and chase for Jordan's 55th-minute try, followed by four more in a rampant last 15 minutes, including another interception for the centurion on the final whistle.

Wales, who were without their English-based players, had one highlight when Priestland's clever kick allowed Williams to rush through and dot down ahead of the Kiwi defence for their only try on the hour mark.

"We wanted to ramp it up a bit there in the second half. We were happy with the outcome after a different week for us, coming across from playing in Washington," All Blacks captain Sam Whitelock said.

Wales take on world champions South Africa next in the Autumn international series while New Zealand travel to Rome to play Italy.

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New Zealand overcome Wales in convincing win to return to top of world rankings - ESPN

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Andy Farrell: Team to face New Zealand is wide open – RTE.ie

Posted: at 10:09 pm

Ireland head coach Andy Farrell says tomorrow's meeting with Japan at the Aviva Stadium will not be a dress rehearsal for next week's game against New Zealand.

Farrell yesterday picked a strong team to face the Brave Blossoms, with suggestions he could go with the same formula against the All Blacks seven days later.

As well as a starting team containing Johnny Sexton, and Lions Tadhg Beirne, Jack Conan, Tadhg Furlong, Bundee Aki, Farrell has opted for an experienced bench, including Conor Murray, Iain Henderson, Peter O'Mahony and Keith Earls.

However the head coach is adamant there is scope for any of tomorrow's replacements, or indeed players outside the 23 to force their way into his plans for the visit of the All Blacks.

"It's 100% open," he said when asked of the selection to face New Zealand.

"I've never been a coach that promised anyone anything. I learned a long, long time ago never to shoot myself in the foot. Youve got to earn your right to play."

One of those who firmly looks to be in Farrell's plans is Leinster scrum-half Jamison Gibson-Park (below).

The 29-year-old is seemingly rated higher among the Ireland coaches than he is by his province, generally subbing for Luke McGrath at provincial level, but has been a consistent presence in Farrell's matchday squads since making his debut in 2020.

Gibson-Park gets the nod ahead of Murray for tomorrow's meeting with Japan, what will be his fifth start in Ireland's last seven games.

"He's started believing in himself at this level," Farrell says.

"Hes not just going about his job, making sure that hes okay across his work, hes comfortable with all that now. Hes able to lead, hes come out of himself within the squad and therefore I think thats relaxed him as well and we see his point of difference come out.

"Certainly in that game, thats the speed of the game that we want him to play. Hes an instinctive player and he certainly did that, that day."

Meanwhile, the Ireland head coach remained coy on whether or not Robbie Henshaw is on track to face New Zealand next week.

The Leinster centre has stayed with the Ireland squad as he continues to rehab a foot injury, which has denied him any game time so far this season.

Farrell says they will give the 28-year-old every chance to prove his fitness, but won't rush him into a return.

"There's no pressure on Robbie. Robbie, he was on the outer last week doing his rehab, he's in camp this week still doing his rehab, he hasn't trained with us at all. He hasn't done much team work.

"If all goes well, there's a plan next week to reintegrate him into that type of thing. I've said to Robbie there's no pressure, it is what it is, when he's ready he's ready.

"There's no pushing from our side. We'll see how the coming days go for him."

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The New Zealand Rugby Team Has Just Shared All of Its Training Secrets – Men’s health UK

Posted: at 10:09 pm

By any measure, the New Zealand All Blacks rugby team are the most successful sports team in the world. Period. But how does a team achieve a win rate of 77 per cent (84 per cent since 2008) and how do the All Blacks players build the strength, agility, durability, fitness and power necessary to defeat all comers?

That's at least in part down to the team's strength and conditioning work, which is led by the team's strength and conditioning coach, Nic Gill, who is also an associate professor in human performance at the University of Waikato in Hamilton, New Zealand.

As he explains, while the team does use the latest training methodologies to eke out every marginal gain, the overall strategy is simple and can be applied to anyone's training.

The All Blacks secret, Gill said in an interview with The Telegraph, is following the Big Rocks philosophy, which is the belief that if you stack your glass with small grains of sand faddish new workouts and of-the-moment diets you won't have the space for the big rocks or your strength work, functional movement and cardio fitness. What you have to do then is build your strategy around those big rocks first.

"Big Rocks is really about doing the basics really well," explains Gill. "What I mean by that is most of the general population can achieve huge things in health and happiness by doing the basics well, like flexibility, stretching and energy system development across the spectrum short, hard stuff, moderate duration and long and slow stuff and a mix of strength and bodyweight conditioning. If we have little snippets of that throughout our week, and we eat well, were going to look great, were going to feel great and were going to be happy people."

"When we try to complicate things, we get lost. So filter out all that complexity, and put a basic plan in place. That is what we do."

Gill went on to expand on eight of the All Blacks 'Big Rocks', which you can see below.

Rugby's a physical sport, which requires well-rounded, physical athletes. That's why training programmes are built around compound lifts. "Its a collision sport: we have big strong men running hard at one another and colliding, so if your muscles, bones and tendons are not strong, you will come off second best," said Gill.

"We need to be strong through our hips and shoulders and if we can string them together with some exercises where we develop a strong spine or trunk, then were laughing," he said. "The key exercises are a bilateral hip movement, such as a squat or a deadlift, and a push or a pull movement, whether that is above the head or out in front, like a bench press, a military press or some chin-ups. We are really trying to work on full-body strength, using multiple joints."

All those compound lifts are also good for core strength, which is also a crucial 'rock' for the All Blacks. "If we squat with good form and good weight, then your trunk has no choice but to get strong," explained Gill. "But we sprinkle in lots of different challenging tasks, whether thats planking, flexion of the trunk, or whether that is stability or anti-rotation work with medicine balls." Players also do barbell rollouts, V-sits and Swiss ball holds.

In order to prevent muscle imbalances, Gill complements big compound lifts with single-limb work, including weighted step-ups, split squats, Bosu balance stands and Turkish get-ups with kettlebells, as well as single-leg hops, skips and bounds. "Sprinkled among all that is lots of single-leg or single-limb work and lots of injury-prevention exercises," explained Gill.

So far, Gill's discussed training methods, now here's an exact exercise to add to your programme: bear crawls. "We do a lot of wrestling and a lot of crawling, mainly for mobility and preparation for rugby, Gill said. This is all about getting ready to practise but it is also part of the injury prevention-theme. Lets crawl, lets get our hips moving, lets get our shoulders loaded, and lets work on our range of motion and mobility. Or lets wrestle and make sure were ready for combat."

The All Blacks have been using Wattbikes for over a decade, utilising them for recovery, rehab and competition. "We use it for recovery (a spin helps to remove lactate from aching muscles after games). We use it for rehab because we can address any imbalances in the legs. And we use it for competition because young athletes love competition and trying to beat each other," said Gill.

Specifically on the topic of recovery, Gill said: "When youre 130kg, theres only so much running you can do before you increase your risk of injury. But with Wattbikes we can improve the condition and physical qualities off-feet, with no risk to joints or Achilles tendonitis or ankles. We can actually sidestep all the things players really suffer from and achieve the same metabolic stress and conditioning on a Wattbike."

The perception is that these are big guys, throwing around big weights, but that's not always the case. "Some of our big boys can only do bodyweight chin-ups anyway because they are so big," said Gill.

"Some of our Wattbike sessions are super-setted with bodyweight circuits," added Gill. "So we might do a crawl, a pull, a press and a Wattbike sprint. The bodyweight (exercise) provides functional conditioning. The Wattbike is replacing the sprint on the field. And the crawl and press are replacing getting up and down from a tackle. So burpees and all of these things are really important."

Hannah PetersGetty Images

Like all athletes, the All Blacks need to make time for stretching and yoga sessions in order to help prevent injuries and strains. "We do a lot of stretching and mobility. We do small touches of that daily, before or after training, or in the gym. Sometimes twice a day they will be doing soft tissue work, myofascial release, mobility, band stretching and partner-assisted stretching."

While the All Blacks training is dominated by the Big Rocks there's still room for some small grains of sand to slip through, with Gill stressing the importance of trying new things and learning new skills. "Were constantly trying new things and getting a balance between fads and real new methods that might help us long-term," explained Gill. "We dont look for quick fixes or silver bullets, but we will try things. Every week youre thinking: can I learn something different? From athletes to staff, we are chasing perfection but we will never get there. So long as we are actually trying to get there, that is the main thing."

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England v New Zealand: Poppy Cleall to captain England for first time – BBC News

Posted: at 10:09 pm

England head coach Simon Middleton said Poppy Cleall was one of the best players in the world during the 2021 Women's Six NationsVenue: Franklin's Gardens, Northampton Date: Sunday, 7 November Kick-off: 14:45 GMTCoverage: Watch on BBC Two and follow live text commentary on the BBC Sport website and app.

Poppy Cleall will captain England for the first time in Sunday's rematch against New Zealand as regular skipper Sarah Hunter is pushed to the bench.

The 29-year-old said leading her country was "a huge honour".

Scrum-half Leanne Infante starts in place of Claudia MacDonald and will be vice-captain at Franklin's Gardens.

Cleall added: "I'm going to have to tell the girls what an honour it is because I'm not sure they quite realise how special it is to lead a team of incredible rugby players and people. I'm hugely proud."

Head coach Simon Middleton said: "With less than a year to go until the World Cup, it's important our leadership group is broad.

"We know what the side looks like when Sarah captains it against New Zealand. We wanted to know what it looked like with another captain. Poppy was perfectly placed to do that."

Helena Rowland, usually a fly-half for England, starts at inside centre in Northampton.

Zoe Harrison retains the starting 10 shirt after a player of the match performance Middleton described as "sensational" in Exeter.

Rowland's inclusion means Lagi Tuima is on the bench, with Holly Aitchison maintaining her place at 13 in the absence of injured star Emily Scarratt.

Middleton has also made changes in the front row, with prop Vickii Cornborough and hooker Amy Cokayne starting and Hannah Botterman and Lark Davies on the bench in an inversion of last weekend's line-up.

Cleall's move to number eight leaves room for Zoe Aldcroft to return to the second row, while Alex Matthews is called into the back row.

Last Sunday's 43-12 defeat was New Zealand's biggest losing margin in 100 Tests and came less than a year before the Black Ferns host the World Cup - a tournament they won for the fifth time in 2017.

For England, another victory is needed in Northampton to avoid New Zealand taking their spot at the top of the world rankings.

The Black Ferns will be buoyed by the return of Olympic sevens gold medallist Portia Woodman as the wing plays her first XVs Test since New Zealand's 2017 World Cup win.

England: Kildunne; Thompson, Aitchison, Rowland, Dow; Harrison, Infante (vice-capt); Cornborough, Cokayne, Bern, Aldcroft, Ward, Matthews, Packer, Cleall (capt).

Replacements: Davies, Botterman, Muir, Millar-Mills, Hunter, MacDonald, Tuima, McKenna.

New Zealand: Robins-Reti; Woodman, Fluhler, Brooker, Leti-I'iga; Demant, Cocksedge; Love, Houpapa-Barrett, Nelso, Ngan-Woo, Wills, Bremner, Elder (capt), Mikarele-Tu'u.

Replacements: Ngata-Aerengamate, Itunu, Rule, Roos, Simon, Bayler, Maliepo, Hohepa.

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The Killers to tour New Zealand in 2022 – Stuff.co.nz

Posted: at 10:09 pm

Danny Clinch/Supplied

The Killers are bringing their Imploding The Mirage Tour to New Zealand next year.

US band The Killers will bring their Imploding The Mirage Tour 2022 to New Zealand next November.

Originally announced for 2020, this will be the bands first time back on New Zealand shores since 2018.

The band have announced two New Zealand shows: the first at Aucklands Spark Arena on November 21 and then at Christchurch Arena on November 25. Tickets go on sale on November 15 at 2pm.

As part of their 2022 tour, The Killers will perform headline shows and festivals across the globe in celebration of their sixth studio album Imploding The Mirage, released last year.

READ MORE:* Imploding the Mirage: The Killers deliver more anthemic rock on their new album* Billie Eilish's Happier Than Ever 2022 tour dates released, second show added* Dua Lipa announces second New Zealand show

The Las Vegas band has since released their seventh studio album, Pressure Machine (2021), a quieter reflective album, recorded during the height of the pandemic, and including songs like Quiet Town and Runaway Horses.

The Killers first burst onto the scene with their debut album Hot Fuss in 2004, featuring now iconic songs like Mr Brightside and Somebody Told Me.

Danny Clinch/Supplied

As part of their 2022 tour, The Killers are set to perform headline shows and festivals across the globe in celebration of their critically-acclaimed sixth studio album Imploding The Mirage, released last year.

Auckland Spark Arena November 21

Christchurch Christchurch Arena November 25

Tickets go on sale November 15, 2021 at 2pm.

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Australian borders are finally open. Here’s who will be allowed in – CNBC

Posted: at 10:09 pm

After shutting its international borders for nearly 600 days due to the pandemic, Australia welcomed its first group of foreign visitors on Monday as the country took steps to gradually lift restrictions again.

Fully vaccinated travelers from New Zealand who test negative in pre-departure Covid tests can now enter Australia. They would be allowed to skip quarantine in certain jurisdictions like New South Wales, but those conditions may differ in other states and territories.

The next set of foreign travelers who can visit Australia will be those from Singapore.

Travelers from the city-state who are inoculated against Covid-19 can enter New South Wales and Victoria Australia's two most populous states from Nov. 21 without quarantine. They would also have to test negative in pre-departure Covid tests.

The decision was reportedly finalized on Sunday when Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison met his Singaporean counterpart, Lee Hsien Loong, at the G-20 summit in Italy.

"Australia is open. Australians are travelling again," Morrison said Sunday at a press briefing in Rome. "Australia's opening up to Singapore, opening up to New Zealand."

People gather for picnics beside the Harbour Bridge in the suburb of Kirribilli on September 19, 2021 in Sydney, Australia. Covid-19 restrictions have eased for people in NSW who are fully vaccinated.

James D. Morgan | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Though Morrison did not provide more details at the press briefing, Singapore's Transport Minister S Iswaran said on social media that Australia would allow visitors from Singapore to enter from Nov. 21.

Singapore last week extended its quarantine-free vaccinated travel lane to include visitors from Australia, in addition to 12 other countries including the U.S. and U.K.

Australian flag carrier Qantas resumed its international operations with flights between Sydney and London and Los Angeles.

From Monday, Australian citizens and permanent residents can leave the country without needing an exemption.

Meanwhile, fully vaccinated Australians and their families have been allowed quarantine-free entry into New South Wales and Victoria since Nov. 1.

"A big day for Australia! We're ready for take-off!" Morrison said in a separate Facebook post. He added that Monday's easing of restrictions was "an important step towards Australia reopening to the world," and urged more people to get vaccinated.

Both New South Wales and Victoria have now fully vaccinated 80% of their eligible population.

Australia has had one of the world's most restrictive coronavirus border policies where only citizens and permanent residents were allowed to enter and had to go through two weeks of mandatory quarantine.

Thousands of Australians had been left stranded abroad as there are fewer flights available and weekly limits were placed on how many people were allowed to enter its major cities.

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Protesting in a pandemic: New Zealand’s balancing act between a long tradition of protests and Covid rules – RNZ

Posted: at 10:09 pm

By Alexander Gillespie, Claire Breen of

Several times this week, protesters have forced Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to abandon events aimed to support the Covid vaccination rollout.

Anti-vaccination protesters at a mobile vaccination clinic in Whanganui where the Prime Minister was due to speak. Photo: RNZ / Sam Rillstone

Over the past few weeks, thousands have gathered, in breach of Covid restrictions and public health measures, to protest against lockdowns and vaccination mandates. The PM has described such protests as "obviously illegal" and "morally wrong".

As Delta infections rise and several professions now face mandatory vaccination as part of the drive to get to 90 percent vaccination rates, protests will likely expand.

But so will penalties for intentional breaches of Covid orders as amendments come into effect this month. A person who intentionally fails to comply with restrictions could face fines of up to NZ$12,000 (up from $4000) or six months in prison. The maximum fine for failing to wear a mask where it is mandatory rises to $4000 (from $300).

Protesting is part of Aotearoa's identity. New Zealanders have protested against poverty, war, nuclear weapons, gender inequality and the loss of Mori land and customary rights. Several protests - including those against the 1981 Springbok tour - have divided the nation.

Although there is no specific right to protest in law, protesting is a manifestation of rights to freedom of movement, association and peaceful assembly. Globally, these rights are protected by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948 and the ensuing framework of human rights treaties. In Aotearoa New Zealand, the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 guarantees these rights.

But despite the legal underpinnings of the right to protest, specific protest actions must be in accordance with the law. They must not be unduly disorderly, violent or unsafe.

The restrictions on the right to protest can be seen in the criminalisation of certain conduct. For example, if someone behaves offensively in a public place, they could face a $1000 fine. Indecent or obscene words can cost up to $500.

The fine could go to $2000 and three months in prison if the behaviour becomes disorderly by acting or encouraging others to behave in a riotous, threatening or violent manner.

Threatening a police officer, or committing an actual assault, could result in a $6000 fine or six months in prison. Common assault on other citizens carries the same penalty. Causing wilful damage to property could cost a protester up to $2000, the same as graffiti. Obstructing a public road without the correct authority can result in a $1000 fine.

Even excessive noise or burning the national flag, if done in a particularly offensive way intended to dishonour it, could have repercussions for the protester.

Covid rules also currently restrict the right to peaceful assembly. These restrictions have been justified by the need to protect public health, which is recognised in international law. However, any such restrictive measures must be specifically aimed at preventing disease.

While New Zealand's alert level 4 was very strict, alert level 3 is a little more liberal. Currently, Aucklanders are still expected to stay home, with exceptions for those who can't work from home. Most events can't proceed, except for ten-person gatherings at weddings, civil unions, funerals and tangihanga.

From next week, when restrictions are expected to ease further, Aucklanders will enjoy the freedom of larger outdoor gatherings of up to 25 people. Some shops will also reopen.

The question now is how authorities should respond to growing protests, some of which may involve illegal activity, in terms of breaching the above orders. The guiding principles for the police are that they must act to ensure public support and confidence, remain independent and impartial and act professionally, ethically and with integrity.

With any intervention to uphold the law, the police must consider keeping the peace and maintaining public safety as well as reassuring the community.

Police face off with protesters in Melbourne. Photo: AFP

In Australia, some Covid protests have gotten out of hand and police responded with rubber bullets, tear gas and pepper spray. With very few exceptions, this approach is absolutely wrong. The guiding principle must be maximum restraint in the use of force when confronting protests.

The emphasis must be on de-escalation of tense and volatile situations. The decision to intervene should only be taken at the highest level of the police force, when there is no other means to protect the public order from an imminent risk of violence.

This is not to say those who break the laws should not be brought to justice. They should - but after the event, not during it. Although rules may be broken, non-aggressive crowds of protesters should not be unnecessarily dispersed.

The current tactic of identifying those who break the rules and bringing them to justice later for their illegal activity is correct and appropriate for a country that values the importance of protests, as well as law and order.

- The Conversation

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New Zealand seals off region over fears of Covid spread – RTE.ie

Posted: at 10:09 pm

Authorities planned to seal off the northern tip of New Zealand with police cordons, as they enforce a lockdown in the region over fears of an undetected community transmission of Covid-19 there.

Part of the Northland region, about 270km from the biggest city of Auckland, is to begin a level 3 lockdown from midnight, said Chris Hipkins, the minister coordinating the response to coronavirus.

The move follows two cases in the region that lacked a link to any known cases.

"It's unclear how they could have possibly picked up the virus," Mr Hipkins told a news conference.

"There could be undetected community transmission in Northland right now."

The cabinet will review on Monday the decision to seal off the area, where vaccination rates are among the lowest in the country, with just 64% of North Island's eligible population fully vaccinated.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who was visiting Northland today, had to abruptly halt a media conference after being continuously interrupted and heckled by at least two people, who appeared to be anti-vaxxers.

One could be heard singing during the event, while another asked Ms Ardern to identify a person who died in August after receiving the Pfizer vaccine, and accused her of lying to the public.

New Zealand won global praise last year for its response that stamped out the coronavirus.

Latest coronavirus stories

But it has been tougher to quash the current outbreak of the Delta variant around Auckland, forcing authorities to decide to live with the virus rather than an earlier strategy of elimination.

Virus restrictions in Auckland were extended by a week yesterday.

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New Zealand Goes Batty For Bird Of The Year – Lethbridge News Now

Posted: at 10:09 pm

Each year, Forest & Bird hosts a two-week-long Bird of the Year competition, giving Kiwis the chance to rank their favorite fowls from New Zealands 200 species in an effort to raise conservational awareness.

Bird competitions in New Zealand are a political affair with the campaign run using the same method as the countrys electoral system. As such, the event has a sordid history of dealing with voter fraud, database breaches, and even accusations of Russian interference. Just last year, a hacker gave a little spotted kiwi over 1,500 fake votes, disqualifying it from the competition!

Though this years winner was clear of any nefarious tactics, it did have some avian-enthusiasts batting an eye when the first-ever non-bird contender flew home with the prize.

One of the countrys two native land mammals, the pekapeka-tou-roa, or long-tailed bat, was included in the list of contestants as a way to raise awareness for the critically endangered species. Still, it was 7,031 online votes that helped it become the cream of the flock.

The win was a shutout with last years winner and second-place recipient, the kakapo, receiving 4,072 of the history-making 56,733 total votes.

Part of the long-tailed bats success in the competition may stem from the sheer excitement of seeing the fluffy thumb-length creature, since humans rarely see them flitting around the forest at 35 miles per hour.

#BREAKING The bat has it! @Forest_and_Bird has just announced on the show the pekapeka-tou-roa has won Bird of the Year.

The long-tailed bat beat fellow frontrunners the kkp, titipounamu, kea and toroa to be Bird of the Years first mammalian winner. pic.twitter.com/Fxtb9UARId

Morning Report (@NZMorningReport) October 31, 2021

Kiwis love their native bat, said Bird of the Year spokeswoman Laura Keown. A vote for bats is also a vote for predator control, habitat restoration, and climate action to protect our bats and their feathered neighbors!

New Zealands two relatively unknown bat species face many of the same threats as more popular creatures, including the competitions 2009 winner, the kiwi. Climate change, habitat destruction, cats, and rats all put the chiropterans at risk as their population declines at a rate of 5% each year.

Habitat preservation is a critical step in helping the species survive, as once bats have lost their homes, its unlikely that theyll return.

The awareness efforts were definitely a success. Still, not all were thrilled by their victory, with some social media warriors taking to the internet to rant about what they believe was a stolen election.

In this battle for avian democracy, we tend to lean toward the views of optimistic Twitter-users, who reveled in seeing an underdog thrive, with Twitter userBryan C. Clark remarking, If pekapeka tou roa can win Bird of the Year despite not being a bird then you can ask out your crush, anything is possible.

By Meghan Yani, contributor for Ripleys.com

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A time traveller’s diary – Covid-19 restrictions in March 2022: What you need to know – RNZ

Posted: at 10:09 pm

Explainer - Sometime soon, the alert level system which is becoming increasingly complex, will be replaced with traffic lights. Join RNZ for a journey into the future to see what that means.

Photo: RNZ / Vinay Ranchhod

New Zealand's alert levels in particular seem to have been an effective tool, but have changed dramatically from what they once were - now including 2.5, Delta 2, and various steps down from alert level 3 to alert level 2.

However, with vaccinations promising to change the way New Zealand responds to the pandemic, the traffic light system announced last month is set to replace it. It's been criticised as complicated, but offers a fresh start to how we approach restrictions.

Meanwhile, work continues on planning for changes to the international border and what that looks like.

So let's forget all about what's gone before, and look squarely at what regional restrictions and travel - including to and from overseas - may look like in future.

Below, we'll explore an optimistic example of what New Zealand's restrictions might be expected to look like in March 2022, about two years on from when Covid-19 first arrived in New Zealand.

New Zealand's DHBs have all surpassed 90 percent double vaccinated, and the country has ditched alert levels completely, moving to the Covid-19 Protection Framework - also known as the traffic light system.

This system has three levels - Green, Orange (or Amber, depending on who you talk to) and Red. Kermit may sing of the difficulties of being green, but it's much easier than being in red, or in lockdown.

Photo: RNZ / Vinay Ranchhod

Auckland was the first to move, having reached 90 percent double vaccinated across its three DHBs in early December, the region moved to Red.

The rest of New Zealand took a while longer. The South Island's DHBs reached the 90 percent target and moved to Orange just before the new year. Some travel restrictions between the South and North Islands, or out of Auckland - rapid antigen testing before travelling and no symptoms - were brought in.

A big effort was made to get the final holdout regions in the North Island - particularly in remote and rural areas, and those with big Mori populations - across the line, and it was announced that the rest of the North Island would move into orange in mid-February, and the Auckland regional border would finally come down.

Meanwhile, with few cases appearing, most of the South Island moved to Green in late February. Cases in Christchurch continued to appear, and the city (but not all of Canterbury) remained in orange for a while longer before the high vaccine rate's success at slowing the spread of the virus encouraged the government to move it to Green.

In March, the long tail of Delta continues to keep Auckland in Red but daily case numbers are slowing. Some of the city where the virus had been circulating rapidly have been subjected to occasional additional lockdown measures, with people encouraged not to leave their home.

Parts of Northland and Gisborne - some of the slower areas to vaccinate and where the virus began spreading from Auckland - have also been in red, with occasional bouts of lockdown.

The South Island is now in Green. Areas of the North Island have also moved to Green, but Orange is still being used in some areas where the virus has been circulating.

Despite the greater freedoms offered by the new traffic light system and changes at the border, the virus has continued to find its way across parts of the country.

As Covid-19 modeller Shaun Hendy warned in November, the move to the traffic light system signals an acceptance of some Covid-19 circulating in the community.

While cases peaked around 300 per day in late November, it has taken some time to truly get the outbreak under control and while cases have not spiralled out of control, they have continued to spread.

Hospital beds occupied also peaked around the same time but hospitals have not been overwhelmed thanks to lockdown precautions.

Some deaths have been reported.

After a couple weeks with all of New Zealand having moved to the traffic light system, the government brought in changes to the border.

All travellers must make a declaration - digital or on paper - of their vaccine and testing information.

However, fully vaccinated travellers from low-risk countries can now enter New Zealand without needing to isolate at all if they return a negative test.

Travellers who are not vaccinated, or coming from high-risk countries, must still spend 14 days in MIQ.

After the success (fingers crossed) of the at-home self isolation trial which ended in December, the government announced that vaccinated travellers from medium-risk countries could isolate at home.

People doing this must answer a randomly timed video call three times a day which detects location via GPS, and may only leave their room to collect contactless food and deliveries, for testing, or to get some fresh air if they have a backyard that no one else accesses.

The room must not have a shared ventilation and be occupied only by the affected travelling party - this means no contact with your family unless they travelled with you.

The government has also signalled it plans to soon allow all fully vaccinated travellers who return a negative test to skip isolation, regardless of the country they are coming from. There are also plans in the works to allow tourism from other countries.

The above is based on modelling and expectations, along with decisions already announced by the government, but there's always an element of the unknown: the "tricky" virus, new technologies, and unexpected situations.

In a statement, a Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet spokesperson said:

The detail of how the Covid-19 Protection Framework will be implemented, and guidance for different sectors, is still being worked on and further information will be provided once Cabinet decisions are made.

In relation to lockdowns, the Covid-19 Protection Framework will reduce our reliance on them as the main measure to stop the virus spreading. As has been indicated, there may be a need for highly targeted, localised lockdowns, and potentially wider lockdowns, like those which we see currently under the Alert Level system, if the public health response requires it.

Read more from the original source:

A time traveller's diary - Covid-19 restrictions in March 2022: What you need to know - RNZ

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