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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

A royal albatross chick in New Zealand has hit headlines around the world as it has no name.

To solve the problem a competition has been held to name the the seven-month-old female.

Name ideas have been flowing in for the bird. The most popular name so far is Dr Ashley Bloomfield – New Zealand’s popular health director who is credited with helping guide the country through coronavirus.

Another popular name is Chicky McChickface, in tribute to the famed Boaty McBoatface campaign.

Regardless of the chick’s name, it will be an ambassador for its kind, which faces a range of threats and challenges including impacts from fishing and plastic pollution.

The albatross has lived her whole life on Pukekura/Taiaroa Head in New Zealand’s Otago Peninsula, but will soon head off on a journey to South America.

The competition for the name has closed and DOC are expected to come out with a result in the next few days.

New Zealand’s largest wind turbines are being built in South Taranaki.

The turbines have appeared between Waverley and Patea at the Waipipi Wind Farm.

The farm covers 700 hectares of coastal farmland. The positioning of these turbines is unusual for New Zealand, as they are being built on flat coastal land.

The new farm is installing 31 turbines. Each turbine is 160m tall with a 130m diameter rotor. They are 4.3 megawatt machines and they’re the largest machines that have been installed in New Zealand.

Waipipi’s constant 8 metres-per-second winds and close access to the national power grid make this a great site.

The farm will begin generating electricity later this year.

New Zealand Prime Minster Jacinda Ardern has celebrated her 40th birthday.

Ardern turned 40 on Sunday and many of her colleagues took the time to mark her special day.

On Saturday, while Ardern was visiting the Newtown Markets in Wellington, Labour MP Paul Eagle surprised her with a cake. He also encouraged the crowd at the markets to sing ‘happy birthday’.

The Labour Party shared messages from fans of the Prime Minister on its Instagram page.

Jacinda Kate Laurell Ardern was born on 26 July 1980.

She is the 40th Prime Minister of New Zealand and leader of the Labour Party since 2017.

Born in Hamilton, Ardern grew up in Morrinsville and Murupara.

After graduating from the University of Waikato in 2001, Ardern began her career working as a researcher in the office of Prime Minister Helen Clark.

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!

New Zealand’s Director-General of Health, Dr Bloomfield, has had a busy weekend.

Firstly, he has had a rhino in Africa named after him.

The naming comes after Kiwi company, Part Time Rangers, announced it had donated $38,900 to Rhinos Without Borders to help support a newborn rhino in Botswana. The money will support the animal during its first three years of life in the wild.

The donation allowed the company to choose the young animal’s name. On Friday of last week the company revealed the rhino would be called Ashley Bloomfield.

Following this announcement Dr Bloomfield was a star player in the annual Parliament rugby game. Bloomfield was selected as the Number 7 in the Centurions XV invitational side that played against the Parliamentary XV.

Bloomfield,  who had been referred to as the “The Eliminator” for the game was the subject of cheers and photographs from starstruck locals. As you would expect from Dr Bloomfield he helped his side beat the New Zealand Parliamentary Rugby Team 19-10.

When Sana Ditta saw how delighted people were with teddy bears in windows over the national lockdown period she knew she had to find a way to extend the love. So, she created the Teddy Bear Project, an initiative that gives teddy bears to refugee children arriving in New Zealand. She started a Givealittle page to raise funds to buy the teddy bears and ended up donating more than 150 to the Red Cross in Canterbury.  

The Red Cross still collects the teddy bears, but Ditta wants her bears to go national, or maybe even global.  

“I want all former refugee children to be welcomed into New Zealand at the airport with a teddy bear, not just Christchurch. Teddy bears provide a sense of comfort. I want to relay the message that New Zealand is welcoming and nothing says a warm welcome more than a teddy bear. More than anything else, children need to feel connected to others in order to feel safe. These comfort teddies help children to feel instantly connected to a companion.  

It’s truly amazing how something as simple as providing a toy to a child can ultimately change their outlook. I’d like to get to a point where we have so many that we can start giving them to children experiencing hardships overseas, like in Yemen and Syria.” 

Ditta has entered her initiative into Amnesty International’s new youth award; The Gary Ware Legacy Award. The award will run annually and is thanks to a very giving family of human rights advocates in Tauranga. It seeks to enliven the existing passion from young rangatahi across Aotearoa for a brighter future through creativity and problem solving. It could explore human rights impacts arising from climate breakdown, armed conflict, or something else.  

She says human rights are important because they apply to everyone. 

“My biggest goal has always been to teach the values of respect, inclusion and equality. I want our future generation to live in a world where they feel safe and diversity is embraced. It is a basic human right and people should not have to fight for it.” 

But what are human rights you ask? 

You use your rights every day! You exercise your right to health and wellbeing when you eat, or go to the doctors. It’s your human right to have a healthy home, to go to school each day and to freely participate in the cultural life and activities of your local community. It’s your right to have rest and leisure in your daily life. It’s your right to be protected from harm and violence. It’s your right to practice a chosen religion if you wish. It’s also your right not to! And it’s your right to freely express your opinion, that is, how you feel about things in your life.  

These rights apply to everyone. It’s also people’s right to find a safe home in another country if they have had to run away from serious danger, especially if it’s due to their race, nationality or political or religious beliefs.  

This is thanks to many people in the past who have worked hard to protect a life where all people can live with promise and dignity. All rights are enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This special document recognises all people as equal and establishes a global agreement on human rights for everyone. 

Amnesty International’s Community Manager Margaret Taylor says the Gary Ware Legacy Award is a great opportunity for those who have ideas but maybe not the funding. 

“We are deeply grateful to the Ware family for providing an avenue for young people in New Zealand to evoke change for the brighter and more compassionate world that our youth already envision. This is a chance for young people to power their human rights idea to help build a world based on justice and kindness, to create a future with opportunity and promise.”  

Applications are being accepted from schools and youth networks across the country and it’s open to all ages under 25 years. 

The closing date for applications is the 30th September, 2020. 

An application can be filled out here.  

Marlborough Girls College students Isabella Adams and Heather Peter have spent the first week of school holidays getting a taste of all things aviation at School to Skies, a week-long intensive camp for Year 13 girls at Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) Base Auckland.

School to Skies is a technical and aviation focussed experience for 38 young women. It provides a unique introduction and exposure to, hands-on learning where participants get to fix real aircraft, fly a simulator, plan a flying mission and build electronic components.

For Isabella, School to Skies provided the opportunity to experience what life is like in the Air Force and learn about what careers were available.

“I love planes and working with machinery to see how things fit together. Over the week we were given lots of opportunities to practice carrying out aviation maintenance on the workshop airframes, that was really fun,” said Isabella.

“Another highlight was sharing this experience with 37 like-minded girls who are all interested in aviation or a career in the Defence Force. School to Skies helped me see the wide range of options available to me if I did decide to join the Air Force when I finish school.”

Most of the girls who attend School to Skies have an interest in engineering and science or are considering a career in the Defence Force. The camp brings together both of these elements and exposes the participants to the breadth of different careers and opportunities available to them in the RNZAF.

Heather has always had an interest in following in her great-grandfather’s footsteps and joining the Air Force. She found the School to Skies camp a great chance to conquer new challenges.

“I applied to School to Skies because I wanted to be confident I was picking the right career path and I also wanted to experience something different and make new friends. The camp definitely pushed me out of my comfort zone but it was an amazing experience and one I would recommend to other girls who are thinking about joining the Air Force,” said Heather.

This is the fourth year the RNZAF has run its School to Skies programme. The programme is open to all female Year 13 students who are taking a Level 3 NCEA (or equivalent) maths and science subject. Of the past participants several have already joined the service to pursue a range of careers including pilot, aircraft technician and air warfare officer.