Home Articles posted by Lilli Scott - Feature Writer

The end of the year is finally approaching, and that means that the weather has gotten warmer and the days have gotten longer.

Summer has always been my favourite season. It means no school, lots of time spent outside and with your friends and family. However, there is one thing to be wary of in the scorching season; sunburn.

Sunburn is a burn to the skin which is due to excess exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. These UV rays are at their peak in summer between the times of 10 am-4 pm in New Zealand. It’s important to take extra care during this period to avoid getting burnt.

The darker your complexion is naturally, the more melanin you have to protect your skin from the UV rays. But we are all at risk of sunburn. People who have very fair complexions can get burnt in just 15 minutes.

A few years ago this sun safety (see below) went viral. It documents people’s skin through a UV camera to reveal the damage from the sun and the difference if you wear sunblock- it’s pretty interesting, you should check it out!

Not only can sunburn be painful and a bit embarrassing but it can lead to long term health implications. I’m sure your mum will have warned you already, but even mild sunburn can be bad for your skin and increase your risk of skin cancer.

In the summer, New Zealand is situated close to the hole in the O-zone layer. The Ozone is a layer in the atmosphere that absorbs UV rays, acting as the Earth’s natural sunscreen. This hole means that the sun UV rays are harshest in New Zealand compared to anywhere else in the world.

Skin cancer is the most common cancer in New Zealand. Approximately 500 New Zealanders die of skin cancer every year and it is largely preventable. This is because over 90% of all cases are due to excess sun exposure. So it’s extremely important to be sun-safe.

You might remember the old saying- slip, slop, slap, and wrap. Well, being sun-safe means covering up with clothing, a high SPF sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses.

How do you stay sun-safe in the summertime? And what did you think of the video I mentioned?

Let me know in the comments below!

You might have read my article last week called ‘The US Election Update.” In it, I wrote that it will be hard to predict what Trump says and does next. Well, as it turns out, it wasn’t that hard to predict- Trump has continued to dispute Biden’s election victory. 

White House Press Sectary Kayleigh McEnany recently said in an interview: “President Trump believes he will be [continue to be] President Trump and have a second term”


When she was asked if President Trump would attend the January inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden, McEnany answered that Trump would indeed be there – because the inauguration would actually be his own. He has failed to concede or assist in any formal transition process over the course of the week. Clearly, Trump and his team are rather out of touch with reality.

This attitude is also continued by Trump’s fans who have been protesting the election outcome. They have gathered in the thousands in Washington DC yesterday. However, in typical Trump fashion, this number has been exaggerated from a few thousand to over 1 million.

According to photos, almost none of these marchers were wearing masks, despite rising numbers of coronavirus in the U.S. More than 750,000 American’s have been diagnosed with coronavirus in the last week. Furthermore, some of these protestors got violent, one instance has been recorded of a pro-Trump man attempting to gouge the opposition with an American flag.

So, what happens if Donald Trump continues to dispute the election outcome? Well, the constitution states how the transfer of power is supposed to work. The Twentieth Amendment says that the president’s power “shall end at noon on the 20th day of January … and the terms of their successors shall then begin.” Whilst a president may be reelected once, under the Twenty-Second Amendment, “no person shall be elected to the office of president more than twice.”

Trump will lose all of his authority on the 20th of January 2021, which also means he loses access to the Secret Service or other the military powers that he would need to protect him should he overstay his welcome. In fact, Biden will have these powers and could, if he wanted, forcibly have Trump removed from the White House. Trump could even be charged with trespassing if he does not obey any orders.

Have you been following American politics since the election? Let’s hope nothing too dramatic happens so next week we can move off Trump and on to a new topic!

The 10th of October marks World Mental Health Day, which aims to raise awareness and start more inclusive discussions around mental health.
Some people have mental health problems such as depression or anxiety. These are conditions that do not go away easily and can affect people’s daily lives. But for most of us, our mental wellbeing is more abouthow we feel and cope with each day.

It can change from moment to moment or year to year.

This year’s theme was set by the World Federation for Mental Health is ‘mental health for all’. This is the idea that discussions about mental health should not be specific to those with mental health issues. That’s a very important distinction to make; we all need to take care of our mental health and wellbeing.

Having good mental health/ wellbeing doesn’t mean that you are always happy or that you are always sad. But that there is a balance between the two extremes.
We have some tips on practical and easy steps you can take to improve and maintain your own wellbeing and to check in on others:

Things you can do to help your mental wellbeing:
○ Make time for yourself. It’s important to find things that you enjoy doing and that help you to relax. Try to fit them into your day or whenever you feel a little down or off. For example, this could be playing a sport, going for a walk, or being with your friends.
○ Try mindfulness. You have probably heard of it, it is a method of paying attention to the moment. Its been shown to help people become more aware of their thoughts and make it easier to manage one’s feelings. Check out this website for more information on mindfulness.
○ If you are feeling stressed or overwhelmed, take a break and step away from the situation you are in, if you can. A change of scene could help calm your mind so you come back feeling better.

Things you can do to help a friend:
○ Check up on them. Take the time to talk to your friends about how they are and what is going on at home. Connecting with people helps to create a sense of belonging and to build positive relationships.
○ If you notice your friend isn’t doing too well, spend some time outdoors together. Being outside can really help improve your mood. You could kick a ball around, play with your pet, or watch the clouds.
○ Have a laugh. Sometimes it can make a world of difference. Do you have any suggestions for you that you like to do to improve your mental wellbeing?
Let us know below.

This weekend I was lucky enough to spend a few days skiing with my family. Skiing is one of my favourite things to do. However, it is extremely weather dependent. I was away for 4 days, but the mountain was only open to the public for 3 of them.

This got me thinking, given how much the weather affects skiing, how will climate change affect it?

Well, I looked into it and thought I would share my findings with you:

Firstly, snow plays an important role in slowing global warming. Snow covers an average of 28 million square km of the world and it reflects about 80-90% of the sun’s energy back into the atmosphere. This helps to cool the planet as it regulates the exchange of heat between the Earth’s surface and atmosphere.

But, the planet is still heating up, it was reported that this year was New Zealand’s warmest winter on record.

Scientists predict that New Zealand’s annual average temperature will increase by about 1°C by 2040. This will rise to 2°C by 2090.

Although it doesn’t sound like a lot, a change by  2°C would be comparable to moving from Auckland to Wellington.

With this increase in temperature by 2090, the number of snow days is estimated to decrease by up to 30 days annually. Which is equal to a whole month less of snow per year- that’s a lot!

Places that currently have snowfall are likely to experience more rain. This will also mean that snowlines will rise to higher altitudes and we won’t be able to ski as much of our mountains.

Skiing could become a thing of the past if we cannot slow the impacts of climate change. Or, maybe within our lifetime, we will only be skiing on man-made snow.

Do you like to ski? Did you notice a change in the snow this season? Comment below and let us know!

Have you ever walked into a room only to forget what you needed? Or opened the pantry only to forget what food you were looking for? I have these forgetful moments daily.

I am about to start my mid-semester break which sounds exciting. But first, I have mid-semester exams.Yuck!

With the amount of time I have spent studying, I have found myself forgetting about everything else I have to do. So it got me thinking, what is the science behind forgetfulness? Is there a reason I am forgetting every little thing at the moment?

Maybe my brain can only handle so much at one time, or maybe I am just a
forgetful person. Psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus found in his research that within about 20 minutes of reading the paper, people often forget about 42% of what you learned or read. Within 1-hour people can forget up to 56%.

Although there is no one reason for forgetfulness there are 3 common explanations. The first is retrieval failure which is the inability to recall a memory without some kind of reminder. An example of this is when you cannot remember the name of a certain singer but when one of their songs comes on you
suddenly remember. The second reason for forgetfulness is inference. This happens when similar thoughts or memories get confused. The last is ineffective coding which is where you simply fail to move the information from your short term to your long term memory.

Try and guess below what categories the following memory mistakes fall into (retrieval, inference, coding):
● You meet someone new and you are so busy trying to make a good first impression that you forget their name
● You order an ice cream but the server mixes up your flavour with the person before you
● You can’t remember what job your mum asked you to do before she went out and only remember when you hear her come home.

However, scientists say that forgetting may actually be the brain’s strategy for processing incoming information. Our brain is not a filing cabinet to remember everything but a computer for making smart decisions.

Hopefully, my brain will kick itself into gear and remember some things during my exams though….

Do you guys every experience forgetfulness? What’s your funniest story? Comment below!

New is always better. Well usually. The new iPhone has cooler upgrades than the old one. A fresh piece of cake takes better than one made a week ago. So new is better right?

Well, today we will be looking back at something old, 2,000 years old to be exact. The origins of how our country works; the history of democracy.

The word ‘democracy’ comes from ancient Greece and means ‘rule by the people’. It combines two smaller words: ‘demos’ which means whole citizens living within a particular city-state and ‘kratos’ which means power.

The first democracy began more than 2,00 years ago in Athens. All the people (including the children and slaves) gathered in one place annually. People were then selected from the crowd to create a council. This council acted a bit like a government; it suggested possible laws and made decisions on behalf of the people.

Sadly, this idea of an elected council didn’t last long. Soon after that, in most places, a king or queen would hold all of the power and rule over the kingdom.

However, by the 1600s people began to think that they should have a say. It didn’t seem fair that a monarch had all the control just because they were born into a certain family. The concept of human rights was starting to gain traction and one of these rights was the ability to choose how your country was run.

Initially in New Zealand, a governor (who represented the Queen) ruled the country. But the settlers also thought this was unfair and wanted more influence. But there were too many people for each person to have a say on every issue. Instead, they elected representatives to speak for them and to make the decisions.

Sounds pretty similar to what used to happen in ancient Athens with their council, doesn’t it?

The first New Zealand election took place in 1853 and we have had elections every 3 years ever since. So perhaps there might be some wisdom in old things too.

Can you think of any other examples of old ideas that have withstood the test of time? Comment below!

The lady I am writing about today needs little introduction. I’m sure you all know who she is – our current Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern?

But you might not know her backstory. I thought it could be interesting to do a profile on her just as we did with Judith Collins (click here to read). If you read the article on Judith Collins, you will know that currently, both the Labour and National Party are being led by women. That’s pretty cool! It’s something that hasn’t occurred for over twenty years.

In just two months after being elected the leader of the Labour Party Ardern became the third female prime minister of New Zealand. Ardern is currently the world’s youngest female leader and the second leader to ever become a mother whilst in office.

She has had some setbacks as well as successes.

Jacinda Arden grew up in Morrinsville, where she said she often saw “children without shoes on their feet or anything to eat for lunch.” Ardern says that kids going without the things they need is what inspired her to enter politics and help. She got involved in the political world very young and joined the Labour Party with her aunt when she was just 17 years old.

Since then, she has worked for some famous politicians such as Phil Goff  (the old leader of the Labour Party whom Jacinda took over from), Prime Minister Helen Clark, and British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Although Ardern has had luck on her side, she also has had to be resilient. In 2008 she ran as Labour’s candidate for MP of the Waikato district and she lost by 13,000 votes (that’s quite a lot). In 2011 she ran in Auckland Central and this time she only lost by 717 votes. In 2014, she lost again in Auckland but this time by only 600 votes. Only in 2017, the year she became prime minister did she win a seat as she ran unopposed.

This is the kind of thing you don’t read about as regularly, and it shows the importance of resilience. I hope it’s a lesson for all the girls (and boys and whoever else!) that you can do anything you want. You too could be running for Prime Minister one day.

Would you ever want to be prime minister? If so, what would you do! Let us know in the comments below

Did you know that New Zealand was the first country in the world to give all women the vote? In fact, Kiwi women had the vote for almost 30 years before women in America and England were granted the same rights.

Have you ever noticed the pretty lady on the $10 note? That’s Kate Shepard and she is one of the suffragettes who helped make it happen.

In the late 1800s, many women in New Zealand became worried about alcohol consumption and alcohol-related crime. However, as they did not have the power to vote, they were unable to vote for alcohol bans or tighter alcohol laws.

Across New Zealand, women banded together and formed the Women’s Christian Temperance Union. It was established in 1873 and was so successful by 1885 there were fifteen branches nationwide.

Kate Shepard, the lady I mentioned earlier led this Temperance Union. Although the Union started for alcohol abolition it soon extended to wanting the vote.

So Sheppard and her fellow campaigners gathered signatures from women all over the country to petition parliament on the issue.

Signatures Timeline

  • 1891: more than 9000 signatures were gathered,
  • 1892: almost 20,000 signatures were gathered
  • 1893 nearly 32,000 were obtained – this made up almost a quarter of the adult European female population of New Zealand

These petitions were so successful that on 19 September 1893 the Electoral Act 1893 was passed and all women in New Zealand were given the vote. Yay!

The next election was on the 28 November later that same year and significantly more women (82%) actually voted than men (70%).

How much did you know about female suffrage and the history of the vote? Have you got any fun facts to share? Let us know in the comments!

Last week was a very eventual week in the world of politics. The leader of the National Party, Todd Muller resigned and a new leader took the reigns, Judith Collins. You might have noticed a few changes in leadership so far this year. National has had different three leaders in 2020 alone, and five since Ardern became prime minister in 2017.

As we are getting closer to the election, I thought it could be interesting to look into the leaders of the main political parties. Starting with the newest, Judith Collins.

Collins is a 61-year-old ex-lawyer. She has been in politics for almost two decades. You might have heard of her nickname, Crusher Collins? She got this title for attempting to ‘crush’ boy racing and has kept it for due to her tough demeanor.

Some More Facts about Judith Collins:

  • Collins is the first female leader of the National Party since former Prime Minister Jenny Shipley in 1999.
  • This is the third time Collin’s has tried to become the leader of the National Party. Third time lucky huh!
  • She first entered Parliament in 2002 and was promoted to Cabinet by John Key in 2008. She was the highest-ranking woman and was ranked fifth in Cabinet.

However, Collins has released a few controversial statements in her time. You might have seen these in meme-version as they have been resurfacing on social media. 

For example, she has been accused of being racially incentive after she tweeted “I am a woman of colour – the colour white.” Another popularly shared statement is Collin’s attitude towards climate change. In 2019 she said, “kids will grow out of climate change activism when the world doesn’t end.”

Despite her slightly offensive opinions, she is probably the only National MP capable of giving Arden a run for her money. Being the leader of the opposition is a tough job.

Do you think Judith’s up to the challenge? Or will she be the one to get crushed? Let us know in the comments below!

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!