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One of the oldest traditions of Christmas has fallen victim to COVID-19.

Due to COVID-19, this year, no children can sit on Santa’s knee.

The recommendations have been put forward to ensure that New Zealand keeps the coronavirus in check.

It will be a disappointment to many children. With only around 30 days until Christmas, Santa is about to visit many of our malls and shopping centres to get photos with kids.

Yesterday marked 10 years since the explosions at the Pike River mine on the West Coast took the lives of 29 men.

A special service was conducted to remember those who lost their lives. Included in the service was a minute’s silence at 3.44pm – the moment the first explosion occurred. This was followed by a roll call of the men killed in the disaster.

A total of 114 families and friends made the trip back up to the portal of the mine, deep inside the Paparoa Ranges.

In Wellington, the Pike River 10 Year Anniversary Commemorative Service was held at Parliament.

Pike River Re-entry Minister Andrew Little, Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson and Grey District Council Mayor Tania Gibson were among those attending.

A recovery mission is currently underway, with a team slowly making its way down the 2.3km entry tunnel.

The New Zealand Police have introduced a hijab into their official uniform.

The move is hoped to encourage more Muslim women to join.

A spokesperson said they aimed to create an “inclusive” service reflecting the country’s “diverse community”.

Other forces such as the Metropolitan Police in London and Police Scotland offer the option of a uniform hijab.

In the UK, the Metropolitan Police in London approved a uniform hijab in 2006 with Police Scotland following in 2016. In Australia, Maha Sukkar of Victoria Police wore a hijab in 2004.

New Zealand Police said work to develop the hijab for its uniform began in late 2018 in response to a request from police staff who visited secondary schools.

The Kākāpō named New Zealand’s bird of the year for 2020.

The green, flightless, nocturnal parrot becomes the first bird in the competition’s history to score a repeat win. It last won the award in 2008.

The critically endangered birds used to live throughout Aotearoa, but today they only survive on predator free islands.

There were only about 50 birds in the 1990s and they’ve been saved by intensive conservation efforts. Today there are 213 individuals

During the two-week voting period, the antipodean albatross topped the leader board with the most number-one votes. However, a late burst saw the kākāpō bounded into the lead.

There were 55,583 validated votes cast in 2020, up from 43,460 in 2019, and the most ever received in the competition’s history.

Top 10 winners with instant run-off preferential voting applied:

1. Kākāpō

2. Toroa/Antipodean Albatross

3. Kakaruia/Black Robin

4. Kārearea/New Zealand Falcon

5. Kererū

6. Pohowera/Banded Dotterel

7. Kākā

8. Ruru/Morepork

9. Whio/Blue Duck

10. Pīwakawaka/Fantail

Kiwi pop sensation BENEE has taken home four Tuis at the Aotearoa Music Awards.

After making a huge splash last year, BENEE has cemented her place as one of NZ’s most successful musicians. She won Best Solo Artist, Best Pop Artist, an International Achievement award, and Single of the Year for her smash hit ‘Superlonely’.

Indie pop band The Beths won Album of the Year with Jump Rope Gazers. They also won Best Group and Best Alternative Artist for the second year.

Aotearoa Music Awards 2020 winners:

1. Te Pukaemi o te Tau | Album of the Year​

  • WINNER: The Beths – Jump Rope Gazers
  • L.A.B – L.A.B III
  • Nadia Reid – Out Of My Province
  • Reb Fountain – Reb Fountain
  • Six60 – Six60
  • Tami Neilson – Chickaboom!

2. Te Waiata Tōtahi o te Tau | Single of the Year​

  • WINNER: BENEE – ‘Supalonely’
  • Drax Project ft Six60 – ‘Catching Feelings’
  • Jawsh685 – ‘Savage Love’
  • L.A.B – ‘In The Air’
  • Six60 – ‘Please Don’t Go’
  • Troy Kingi – ‘All Your Ships Have Sailed

3. Te Roopu Toa | Best Group

  • WINNER: The Beths – Jump Rope Gazers 
  • L.A.B. – L.A.B. III
  • Miss June – Bad Luck Party
  • Six60 – Six60

4. Te Kaipuoro Takitahi Toa | Best Solo Artist​

  • WINNER: BENEE – Stella & Steve
  • JessB – New Views
  • Nadia Reid – Out Of My Province
  • Reb Fountain – Reb Fountain

5. Te Kaituhura Puoro Toa o te Tau | Breakthrough Artist of the Year

  • WINNER: Jawsh685 
  • Paige

6. Te Māngai Pāho Te Kaipuoro Māori Toa | Best Māori Artist

  • WINNER: Maimoa
  • Ria Hall
  • Stan Walker

7. Te Kaipuoro Arotini Toa | Best Pop Artist​

  • Paige
  • Six60

8. Te Kaipuoro Manohi Toa | Best Alternative Artist​

  • WINNER: The Beths 
  • Mermaidens
  • Reb Fountain

9. Te Kaipuoro Awe Toa | Best Soul/RnB Artist

  • WINNER: Haz & Miloux
  • Lepani
  • Stan Walker

10. Te Kaipuoro Hipihope Toa | Best Hip Hop Artist

  • WINNER: Church & AP
  • choicevaughan
  • Raiza Biza

11. Te Kaipuoro Taketake Toa | Best Roots Artist

  • Lomez Brown
  • Ria Hall

12. Te Māngai Pāho Mana Reo Award

  • WINNER: Mōhau
  • Maimoa
  • Six60

13. Te Kaipuoro Tāhiko Toa | Best Electronic Artist

  • WINNER: Lee Mvtthews
  • State of Mind
  • Truth

14. Te Kaipuoro Rakapioi Toa | Best Rock Artist

  • WINNER: City of Souls
  • Devilskin
  • Villainy

15. Te Kaipuoro Kairangi Toa | Best Worship Artist

  • WINNER: Mōhau
  • Kane Adams
  • Te Rautini

16. Te Kaipuoro Inamata Toa | Best Classical Artist

  • WINNER: Andrew Beer & Sarah Watkins
  • Klara Kollektiv
  • Matthew Marshall

17. Te Kōwhiri o te Nuinga | People’s Choice Award

  • L.A.B

18. Tohu Whakareretanga | Recorded Music NZ Legacy Award

  • Johnny Cooper
  • Max Merritt
  • Peter Posa, Dinah Lee
  • The Chicks and Larry’s Rebels

19. Te Toa Hoko Teitei | Highest Selling Artist

  • Drax Project ft. Six60

20. Te Rikoata Marakerake o te Tau | NZ On Air Radio Airplay Record of the Year

  • Drax Project

21. Tohu Tutuki o te Ao | Recorded Music NZ International Achievement

  • Jawsh685

NCEA exams for New Zealand students have started today.

More than 120 exams will be held for pupils enrolled in the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA), which are usually sat by year 11 to 13 students.

About 140,000 students will take part, and about a quarter of those will sit the end of year exams online.

The exam period was due to start earlier this month. However, the start was delayed to allow more teaching time because of classroom time lost to lockdowns.

All students will be kept 1.5 metres apart, exam rooms will be cleaned regularly, and masks can be worn but are not required.

Education Minister Chris Hipkins said online testing is increasing this year. Altogether 58 exams are available online, and about 35,000 students from 300 schools are expected to sit them online. Last year about 20,000 students took them online.

The Auckland City Council has declared 14 beaches as being unsafe for swimming.

The reason for the rates is due to sewage contamination. Basically, the 14 beaches have such high levels of human or animal poo in amongst the water, if a human swam in it they could get seriously sick. 

Of the 14 Auckland swimming spots that have been listed, 12 of those have a “long-term water quality alert”.

Auckland Safeswim advises the public not to swim in these areas.

Water contaminated by human or animal faeces can contain disease-causing bacteria, viruses, and protozoa. Examples of these include salmonella, campylobacter, or giardia.

Below is a list of the banned beaches.


  • Bethells Lagoon – long-term high risk
  • North Piha Lagoon – long-term high risk
  • Piha South Lagoon – long-term high risk
  • Fosters Bay – long-term high risk
  • Titirangi Beach – long-term high risk 
  • Wood Bay – long-term high risk
  • Green Bay – long-term high risk 


  • Oakley Creek – long-term high risk 
  • Meola Reef – long-term high risk 
  • Cox’s Bay – long-term high risk 


  • Kohimarama Beach – short-term high risk
  • St Heliers Beach – short-term high risk 

Waiheke Island:

  • Little Oneroa Lagoon – long-term high risk

Shane Reti is the new deputy leader of the National Party.

Judith Collins was also reconfirmed as party leader.

Collins said that “It is an enormous privilege to be reconfirmed as leader of the National Party,” she said in a statement issued shortly after a National Party vote.

The party met this morning to decide who would slot into the number two spot after Gerry Brownlee announced he would step aside late last week.

Dr Reti is a former GP and came to Parliament in 2014 as the MP for Whangārei. He has been a health spokesperson under Collins’ leadership. He lost the seat in last month’s election and is now a list MP.

He will keep the health portfolio.