Home Articles posted by Lilli Scott - Feature Writer

Recently there has been a period of incredibly cold and rainy weather across the country. This past week New Zealand has coldest June temperature in five years. Many of us have had to say goodbye to our usual warm-weather activities in favour of indoor ones.

I thought it could be helpful to make a list of some fun things to do when you are trapped inside! However, I must warn you, that before you proceed, these are all screen-free suggestions. But they are still just as fun I promise.

According to the Ministry of Health, 90% of children aged 10-14 spend more than two hours a day looking at a screen. Considering this is an age bracket that already spends at least 7 hours a day at school and around 9 hours sleeping, using screens is eating up a lot of your free time. Heck, screens even how you are reading this!

If you are wanting to cut down on your screen time these ideas would be great to keep you occupied. Otherwise, they might just be good to have in the back of your mind so when your mum tells you to get off your screen you can still keep yourself entertained.

  1. Look into your family tree: give your grandparents, aunties, and uncles a call and learn about your family history. Not only would they love to hear from you but your family might have a more interesting background than you think. When I did this I found out my granddad’s brother married his first cousin- how scandalous! Although I sure am glad that it’s not in my direct bloodline 😜
  2. Learn a magic trick: challenge yourself to learn an impressive magic trick. This is a great way to keep yourself entertained and once you have it mastered, entertain your friends with your wizardry
  3. Play DIY Ten Pin Bowling: make your own ten pin bowling using plastic bottles and a ball. Arrange the bottles into a triangle down a hallway to make your bowling alley. It might also be worth placing some dirt or rocks at the bottom of the bottles to help them stand up well and to make the game a bit more challenging.
  4. Have a board game competition: dig out your board games and have an Olympics with different games to see who is the ultimate board game champion. Or combine them and create your own game.

What’s your favourite thing to do when you are trapped inside? Are you good at entertaining yourself without the help of a screen? Let us know in the comments below!

A statue commemorating Captain John Hamilton was pulled down in Hamilton by the City Council on Friday. This was because the local iwi and community believed the statue was culturally offensive. Hamilton was a British leader in the New Zealand land wars and died in the battle of Gate Pa in 1864. This battle also resulted in the death of 80 Maori. John Hamilton apparently, never set foot in the city which was named after him.

This removal of the statue was inspired by the protests for the ‘Black Lives Matter’ (BLM) movement after the death of George Floyd in America. Floyd was killed by police officers when he was arrested for suspicion of committing a minor crime. The tragedy was caught on video and has sparked a worldwide conversation about racism and oppression.

Although these are very complex issues, there is never “another side” to racism. Judging or treating someone differently by the colour of their skin is wrong.

Lilli Scott 2020

Although these are very complex issues, there is never “another side” to racism. Judging or treating someone differently by the colour of their skin is wrong. Commemorating historical figures who were racist or culturally offensive may not be appropriate. The process of reconsidering this, like what happened to the statue in Hamilton, is also happening around the world.

Last week, statutes of a slave traders Edward Colston and Robert Milligan were pulled down in the UK by protesters of the BLM movement. Here in New Zealand, other towns have begun to question the place of some of their colonial statues. Many of our streets and places have been named after culturally insensitive figures and too few places inspired by Maori history.

The BLM protests are continuing and more people are discussing what can be done to make things better for minorities. The removal in the statue of John Hamilton is hugely significant. It has sparked a larger debate about if anything should be done about the colonial names and influence in our country.

Have you been following the protests and removal of statutes in the media?

Let us know what you think

Kiwis are known for a love for DIY. Supposedly, the ‘do it yourself’ attitude is in our DNA. Right along with our taste for pavlova and yearn to play rugby.

I’m sure all of you will have heard the phrase ‘Kiwi ingenuity’. It is the idea that New Zealanders are intrinsically good at coming up with a solution to any problem. Usually, the solutions are creative and unusual, using whatever is at hand.

If you ask me, Kiwi kids have more ingenuity than their parents despite that they both share this creative DNA. Often it’s kids who have both the ideas and the determination to make it a reality. There is a scientific reason for this loss of inventiveness. When we become an adult, our frontal cortex develops more ‘rational’ tendencies and we lose our ability for divergent thinking, stifling our creativity.

Over the lockdown, kids all over New Zealand were stuck at home with nothing to do. Hopefully, many of you used that time to put your natural ingenuity to good use! Swapping out your gaming consoles for a hammer and Netflix binges for adventure.

Stanley Watson, 15 from the Bay of Plenty is a great example of a Kiwi kid who has created something awesome recently. When faced with the problem of not being able to leave his house to go to the mountain biking tracks in lockdown, Stanley came up with a genius solution- to bring the mountain biking tracks to him.

Stanley has designed and built a mountain bike course on the land outside his house. The course is fitted with all the bells and whistles such as both dirt and wooden ramps/ jumps. Check out the picture!

Stanley has done a very impressive job with such a small space and the limitations of a tree in the middle of his miny terrain park! A clever and creative solution to his problem.

I hope you all put your creative young minds to good use during the lockdown too. Or if not, use Stanley’s story as inspiration going forward.

Have you made anything exciting recently?

We would love to hear about it. Comment below to let us know and to give other Kiwi kids some new ideas

After about 50 days of being in some kind of lockdown, things suddenly are becoming a lot more normal. You can go to the mall, to the movies, go outside and play sports, see friends and family and best of all go back to school (yay!).

Whilst some of you might be itching to get back and the rest of you might have loved staying home, all students will certainly have a new appreciation for school.

There are 800,000 school students in New Zealand who can now return to school. The only exception is if students are unwell, have COVID-19 symptoms, those who are isolating, or are waiting for the results of a COVID test.

For the rest of you, here is what returning to school will look like:
● The classroom will pretty much return to normal but each school will have different rules
● You will be able to use the playground and play sports at school.
● School transport services will also return but there may be some limits to how many of you will be able to board each bus. This means that if your parents can take you to school, then they should.
● You will be able to use the drinking fountain but it’s best to bring your own drink bottle to prevent the spread of germs.


But even though things are going back to normal, we still need to play it safe and be sensible.
Keep your hygiene levels up, wash, wash, wash your hands! It is more important than ever to make sure you are washing your hands regularly and well as you return to school.

If you are feeling sick, stay home. This is very important no matter how much you have missed your friends, you do not want to get them sick too.

How do you feel about going back to school? Will you be attending? Comment below!

One night last October, I emerged from my room in the hall to a group of fellow students dancing in sync. A number of thoughts ran through my head to try and explain such a thing. Were they a cheerleading or an acapella group? No, in the words of one of the students, they were simply trying to get ‘TikTok famous’.

TikTok is a Chinese media platform in which users share videos that are between 15-60 seconds long. It has become extremely popular and has over 800 million active users. Many of these users are young people, with a desire for ‘TikTok fame.’ So the question is, how can you up your Tik Tok game?

Most creators suggest that it is best to post every day, at least once a day. This will allow you to get better at making videos and keep your followers interested. Once you master regular TikToks, try experimenting with duets or put yourself out there with an original skit or challenge. Make the kind of videos that you like to watch, that way they will be the most fun to create.

Quick Tips The app is for short attention spans, so keep your videos under 30 seconds.Your videos don’t always have to be productions. It’s okay to post a simple video if you don’t have a good idea every day. Always use hashtags! Otherwise, you lose out on a large number of potential viewers.

However, you must be 13 years old to have a Tik Tok account. This is to help protect young people and should be followed. To keep safe on Tik Tok,  it’s also worth investigating your privacy settings. With a public profile, beware anyone can see your videos but only your approved followers can send you a message. Whereas with a private account you can approve or deny followers and only your followers see your videos.

Lastly if you are on Tik Tok, be a smart user! Block people if you don’t want to be contacted by them anymore, it is your account so remember you are in control.  Be sure to report abuse, spam, or anything else that you don’t feel happy with.

What are your favourite videos to watch on TikTok? Do you make videos yourself? Comment below!

Ever wanted to travel back in time? Or see the wonders of the world like the Great Wall of China? Or go swimming with the sharks? Well you can for free! Sort of…

How? You might ask.

Introduce yourself to the great world of virtual travel. Ever since coronavirus has forced millions of people around the world to self-isolate, there have been an increase in the popularity of virtual travel. Many countries have had to close the borders and none of us can travel at the moment, but virtual tours could be the next best thing.

Here are some of the best virtual travel videos on youtube in one place. Check them out for a bit of fun and something to do while we are still at home in level 3. 

Be sure to click on the compass icon in the corner of the video and use your arrow keys to move around and change your perspective to get the full virtual experience.

Places:

  • Very few people get the chance to visit the cold but beautiful Antarctic. You can be one of them. Sail across the rough seas, dive in the icy water, and see the leopard seal catch his dinner on this  very realistic tour.
  • If you fancy taking a trip to London check out this tour. There are so many places to see, Big Ben, the Tower of London, Buckingham Palace, the London Eye, the list goes on and on.

Out this world activities:

  • Ever wondered what it’s like to be in space? The weightless sensation of being in zero gravity is emulated by National Geographic in this video. Maybe it’ll inspire you to be an astronaut one day.
  • If time travel takes your fancy, check out this Viking battle. See a different world where people sleep on animal skins, drink gruel, and fight for their land. You might feel quite content in the safety of your house after this.

Under the Sea Animals:

  • Test your stomach by diving with tiger sharks in the Bahamas, to do so click here. Or risk getting snapped at by a hammerhead in one of Youtube’s most popular virtual tours here.  Did it give you a fright?
  • If you are a bit too scared of the underwater predators and want something more peaceful try this swimming with dolphins experience.

Did you check out any of the tours? What are some places or things you would like to do in real life when isolation is over? Let us know by commenting below!

When you hear the term essential workers, chances are you think of the amazing healthcare staff on the front line, or the supermarket workers you see when you pick up your essentials.

But since the COVID-19 began, one essential job that we might overlook is journalists. In a way, journalists are first responders too – often not with any medical abilities but they are our eyes and ears on the front line. 

The NZ Herald called the daily 1 pm press conference “NZ’s favourite reality TV show.” With thousands of people tuning in each day to hear the updates, we thought it might be interesting to find out what exactly goes into these conferences:

The 1 pm press conferences are filled with journalists from different organisations from television, print, and radio.  The journalists ask the government questions for the public, which is particularly important while we are in lockdown and cannot do it ourselves.

Some Facts About Asking Questions in Press Meetings:

  • You have to have a membership to be in the room, and abide by the rules to keep your membership.
  • Due to the time crunch, the journalists often only get one shot to ask these questions so they have to make sure that the questions are perfect and provide context.
  • You might have heard the journalists yelling to get the politician’s attention. It is their only opportunity to ask questions because there is a rule that you cannot follow the politicians around in parliament to keep asking them.

Jessica Mutch McKay is the politics editor for TV 1 and she describes her role saying:“I need to get information from the politician, and the politician needs me to communicate that to the public.”

Ultimately, these press conferences provide journalists a chance to challenge the information to make sure it is correct and then they can present it in a way for us to easily understand.

Journalism is clearly an important field but sadly, since the beginning of the lockdown, 437 of New Zealand’s 1,600 journalists have lost their jobs. This is because newspapers make their money through advertising which has dropped with the uncertainty of the virus.

Now more than ever is a good time to be supporting news outlets if you can. And the next time you are watching the 1 pm conference stay till the questions or remember the other kind of front line workers out there. They may not be able to help cure coronavirus but having reliable news about the virus is just as important.

We are now on the home stretch of the lockdown and many of you will be beginning online schooling this week. Yay! 😉

It is undoubtedly going to be a bit of a change that some of you might feel a bit hesitant about. But do remember the rest of your classmates and even your teacher will be feeling just as unsure. It’s new for all of us. So here are some tips to help you make the most of it.

Your technology:

Put away your phone, it might be tempting to scroll during class out of the shot of the camera but it’s a bad idea! If you struggle with this, consider downloading ‘Forest’. Forest allows you to set a timer and plant a virtual tree that will die if you pick up your phone and go on another app. With every virtual tree that you plant, you earn coins that go to the planting of real trees. What a win-win! You can help the environment and help you to focus on your studies at the same time. 

Another good thing to keep in mind is to be aware of what others can see and hear. If you are in a live video class, check your surroundings. Be sure to mute your mic when you aren’t using it. Also, tell your family members that you’ll be in a live video class and so they don’t interrupt your lesson.

Your space:

Like I talked about in part 2, try to find a dedicated space to do your work. That might be a corner of your room or at the dining table. This way when you sit down there, it will signal to your brain that it’s time to get into work mode and not chill mode.

Try to keep your study space tidy and organised. Be sure you have all your books, worksheets and other supplies. That way you won’t hold up your class while they wait for you, or miss anything important when you are getting organised. Due to the nature of online school, you no longer have a teacher there to check you have what you need or to give you a backup copy. It’s up to you to stay on top of things.

Your attitude:

Try to be positive, it’s hard when you can’t see your friends and have the usual perks of going to school.  But at least you can snack, chill with your pets and be in the comfort of your house when you are doing school work. Remember this is only temporary and you will be back with your friends at school in no time.

What are your tips for online learning?

It’s easy for this extended time indoors- especially with your family- to cause a bit of cabin fever. Waking up every day to the same agenda; staying home, will no doubt be getting old after almost 3 weeks.

There are, however, several things you can do to help you stay relatively sane during this confusing time.

Create a routine:
It’s a good idea to change out of your pajamas, have a shower and make your bed every day. Just because you’re friends won’t see you, doesn’t mean your family should be able to smell you! Doing small things you usually do every day will help things feel more normal and you feel better.

Break things up:
Find tasks to break up your day so it doesn’t feel so long and boring. In the middle of the day try to fit in a
walk or some exercise so it feels like you have a separate morning and afternoon rather than just one long day.
Another good idea is when possible, change your environment for different activities. That way you still feel as if your brain will feel like it has places to do the things it normally does without going to school or to sports practice. You could change around your room and dedicate each corner to a different activity.

Take care of your body:
This is a perfect time to catch up on some sleep. Luckily you have nowhere to go so you can finally sleep in without fear of missing the bus! It’s also important to keep moving. There are some great exercise videos online and these can be a great way to get motivated and can be really fun especially if you get
your siblings or even your parents involved! Check out KIDZ Bop to learn some awesome dances which definitely count as a good way to exercise.

Use your imagination:
If things are starting to feel a bit scary, it’s a good idea to put your imagination towards something positive. You could do this by drawing or painting or creating a short film about your time in lockdown. That way you have something to look back on and remember what you did with these 4 weeks.

Or just relax:
We are going through a pandemic so it’s okay if you aren’t learning a new language or skill. It’s totally
okay if somedays you just feel like chilling out. Get stuck into a new book or series to take your mind off
things.

The main thing is to stay happy and healthy. I mean, if you’re really bored remember you can always help your parents with some jobs or go tidy your room…😆 What have you been doing to stay sane during the lockdown?
Comment below