I saw the mountain erupt: a Kawerau childhood

Mum was the primary ‘breadwinner’, providing the main income and exercising the matriarchal and patriarchal authority in the home. It was up to Dad to cook dinners, vacuum and mop, clean and hang out the washing and more. It was up to Mum to make sure the family got by. Not an easy thing to do as a teenage mother. Even harder when your husband was a former patched gang member, a bloke with ‘Mongrel Mob’ tattooed across his forehead, and in and out of work during the family’s early years.

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The real cost of air travel to the environment

I put the details of our household of two into the online carbon calculator, and felt a virtuous glow as our waste, energy and local transport emissions came in well below the New Zealand average.

But then I had to confront the jumbo jet in the room. The computer program asked for the details of all flights I had taken in the past year: London; San Francisco; a couple of cheap hops from Stansted to Scandinavia; numerous domestic flights from Christchurch to Auckland, Wellington, Dunedin, Nelson.

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CTV: 115

The crux of the inquiry arrived when two key witnesses, Reay and Harding, gave evidence. Reay was pensive, deliberate on the stand, allowing long pauses to fill the hall while he formulated his answers...He proffered five alternative collapse scenarios, which, under questioning from Mills, he was forced to concede were “just a series of possibilities that occurred to you”.

“Am I right that they all have in common the fact that none of them attribute any responsibility to you or your firm for the collapse of the building?” Mills asked.

“I have not considered that,” Reay said.

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The Misery of Marie

“I was screaming and yelling. I don’t remember what they were saying, my mind was gone. I couldn’t sleep.”

Beneath a deep grief for the loss of her closest sibling lies guilt.

As someone who untangled herself from a violent relationship, with the help of a friend, Vicki can’t help but feel she could have done more for her sister.

But she has questions, too, over what government and social welfare agencies could and should have done.

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Sun-stroked

Harriet was loving all this, strolling down to a corner of the beach for a lonely swim, and stretching out on her wide Indian cotton sheet to read a book, and washing our metal camping cups in the DOC cold tap, which appeared out of the ground like a periscope, attached to a small stake.
"Isn't this great?" she would say. She was loving it.
Was I loving it? That is more complicated.

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How do you know when it's time to leave Auckland?

The turning point? The disappointment of missing out on a home, beholden to a landlord once again. At some point, everything began to frustrate me. The interminable waiting in winter for buses that were always full. Climbing Mt Eden for a moment of peace, to find the summit covered with people. Watching as my favourite cafe became "cool", its signature dish on Instagram and on Sundays you could hardly get a seat.

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A refugee's perilous story: Afghanistan to Christchurch

Again, they left in the night. At the beach,  Zarif lay crammed in the boat's hold with 14 others.

The smugglers nailed planks of wood over them.

It was a tiny fishing boat, Zarif says, and gestures: barely from here to here. Raised in land-locked Afghanistan, he had never sailed on the sea.

"The first night, the water and the wind was really bad," he says. "The noise was loud and we were very afraid."

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Ockham literary winner Catherine Chidgey opens up

Chidgey’s densely layered lyricism has reviewers reaching for such words as haunting and spellbinding. The Wish Child, with its mystery narrator’s elliptical observations – “Let me say I was not in the world long enough to understand it well …” – has a touch of magical realism. In the book’s author photo – dark blue lace, pre-Raphaelite hair – Chidgey looks fully capable of binding a spell.

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Our problem with P

"She’d just be living on the pipe with a needle in her arm and f*ck everything else. She was pretty much the reason I stopped smoking meth. It got f*cking real, real quick.”
At one point, Brad and his friends broke the woman out of a psychiatric unit. “At the time we thought it was brilliant, hilarious—the greatest thing. You’re young, dumb and flying. You feel six foot tall and bulletproof… She’s got a child now. She’s still on the pipe."

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Word is out: The death of gossip in New Zealand

Despite its pervasiveness, and roots extending back to the dawn of language, gossip gets a bad rap. It's perceived as a violation; low-brow, salacious, void of integrity. "The definition I really like is, it's private talk - it's talk about people's private lives," says Jennifer Frost, an associate professor of history at the University of Auckland, and author of the book When Private Talk Goes Public: Gossip in United States History. "That's what makes it illegitimate - you're airing private talk in public. You're crossing a boundary."

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A guilty secret: Inside the killing of Hamilton man Frederick "Rick" Hayward, who vanished on the way to the Raglan family bach

By 9am it was raining and Kate Hayward thought about leaving. It would be the first milestone.
Even though she believed her husband was dead, she left a note on the Toyota's dashboard.
It ended with a love heart.
"I thought if he sees that, just that, he'll be reassured."
There would be no reassurance.

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Looking for Love

She was the first to buy a ticket. “Yeah, I know what you’re thinking,” says Jenny Flain. “Desperado!” And with that the 35-year-old with the blonde mane and glorious shot­ taffeta gown cracks up.
A former vet nurse, now office administrator-cum-part-time hairdresser, Flain lives on a five-hectare block in West Melton, 20 minutes out of Christchurch, with two cows, a dog, two horses and four sheep. Until 2004 the menagerie included a partner of 11 years, but he was a townie and never truly belonged to the land.

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Is it time to ban police pursuits?

One of this country’s few public critics of police pursuits, road safety campaigner and Dog and Lemon Guide editor Clive Matthew-Wilson, reckons police chase because they enjoy the thrill of it.

“Part of it is because they hate seeing people get away, and that’s natural, but police work by and large is very boring and one of the few things that’s really exciting is chasing someone. And yet it’s one of the least effective ways of catching anybody.”

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Eaten alive

"I thought by the time it gets to me, I'll be too old to really care. But in the last three years it's just happened so fast," says Gavin Sykes, who lives in Granity.
"People used to use our backyard to have 60th birthdays and all sorts of things. This was beautiful, this backyard. We had plants, nice grass... It was a beautiful area and the sea's just f...ed it.
"Right now, it could be all over for us in a year."

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Picking up the pieces in Ruatoki

When she couldn't provide her partner's cellphone number ("Since when has it been a crime to have speed dial?") she says police told her that was suspicious and they would have to search the couple's bedroom.

"I was trying to make jokes, cos, yeah, it was hard... I had the four babies. They're normally really boisterous, but they sat still.

"They started asking, `Are we baddies, mum? Is my daddy a baddie?"'

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