New Zealand

The largest potato in the world... maybe

Donna and Colin Craig-Brown of Ngāhinapōuri have named their 7.9-kilogram potato 'Doug'.

The Craig-Browns had no intention of growing a large potato, Colin tells Jesse Mulligan. Doug was just "one of nature's pleasant surprises".

"I had no idea he was growing there and I don't know how long he was there because I was walking over top of him all last cucumber season.

"It's just one of life's happy little moments, you know? Mother Nature has just bestowed this glory upon us."

Over 600 Vanuatu nationals stuck in NZ awaiting repatriation

There are three scheduled repatriation flights before flights are suspended over the Christmas period.

The Vanuatu High Commission in New Zealand said it is working with authorities in Port Vila to secure extra flights to accommodate its nationals stranded in New Zealand, especially seasonal workers.

Repatriation flights from Auckland to Port Vila in August and September have been affected due to the suspension of flights. Flights resumed last month with two flights per month. 

New Zealand donates medical supplies to Vila Central Hospital

The supplies and equipment were provided by the New Zealand Medical Treatment Scheme (NZMTS) and the ‘Take My Hands’ organization in New Zealand.

The supplies include gowns and scrubs, blankets, Cardiac Monitors, PPE and other equipment requested by VCH.

The New Zealand Medical Treatment Scheme (NZMTS) aims to assist Pacific island countries to provide their citizens with access to specialized medical treatment. The NZMTS comprises two components: the Overseas Referral Scheme; and the Visiting Medical Specialists.

Traveller from Tuvalu tests positive for Covid-19 in NZ

The person arrived two weeks ago, and tested positive for the virus once in New Zealand.

They are staying in managed isolation in Auckland.

The tiny island nation has not had any previously reported cases of Covid-19.

About 14,000 people live across the Tuvalu archipelago, and UN data shows that 12,114 Covid-19 vaccine doses have been administered there.

The New Zealand Ministry of Health said this case was one of three new incoming border cases that were reported yesterday.

Another 126 community cases were also reported in New Zealand yesterday.

New Zealand expands one-way quarantine-free travel with Samoa, Tonga, Vanuatu and Tokelau

The change will see travellers from those countries and Tokelau who have the right to reside permanently in New Zealand and people covered by border exceptions, from 8 November.

“Travellers must be fully vaccinated, unless they are New Zealand citizens. RSE workers are currently required to have at least one dose, and will be required to be fully vaccinated from 1 January 2022,” said Covid-19 response Minister Chris Hipkins today.

80 community cases reported in NZ

There were also five cases reported in managed isolation.

There was no media conference. In a statement, the Health Ministry said 46 of the cases are unlinked. There are now 287 unlinked cases from the past 14 days.

There are 50 people in hospital, including four people in intensive care. The Ministry said the average age of those in hospital is 44.

Yesterday the Ministry of Health reported 104 community cases of Covid-19.

The two new cases in Waikato - one in Te Awamutu and one in Hamilton - remain unlinked, along with five other cases in the region.

Covid-19 community case reported in the South Island with positive test in Blenheim

The case flew from Rotorua and arrived in Blenheim on Thursday. They were tested upon arrival after developing a sore throat.

"The initial test, including a follow-up swab, returned a weak positive result."

The ministry said the case is now isolating awaiting the results of further testing.

The case is considered low risk, due to their likely late stage of infection.

The ministry said initial case interviews suggested the case was linked to the Te Awamutu cluster.

102 Covid-19 community cases in NZ today

The Ministry of Health said 94 of the cases were in Auckland and eight in Waikato. Thirty of the cases are household contacts.

Forty of the new cases remain unlinked and there are 199 unlinked cases in the past 14 days.

There were 60 new community cases yesterday.

All of the Waikato cases were in the Te Awamutu area, the ministry said. Seven had already been linked to known cases.

One of the Waikato cases travelled to Hawke's Bay last Friday, but returned to Te Awamutu before testing positive.

Dame Cindy Kiro sworn in as Governor-General of New Zealand

After placing her hand on the Bible as requested by chief justice Helen Winkelmann, Dame Cindy recited the oaths of office in both English and Māori.

She is the first wāhine Māori to hold the position, and is of Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Hine, Ngāti Kahu and British descent.

Dame Cindy was born in Whangārei in 1958 and is the eldest of six children.

She was most recently the chief executive of the Royal Society - Te Apārangi, has been a Children's Commissioner and Pro-Vice-Chancellor Māori at the University of Auckland.

Vanuatu seasonal worker dies in New Zealand

COL Murielle Meltenoven confirmed the deceased is from Malekula and he was employed with the Seeker Farm, but his name is being withheld according to the Vanuatu Daily Post.

Arrangements to repatriate the deceased are yet to be discussed, once the Labour Department receives all confirmed details from the coroner.

Meltenoven confirmed her office will be liaising with the High Commission based in Wellington and the New Zealand High Commission in the repatriation arrangements.