Zoo’s Strangely Beautiful Australia celebrates our wildlife

By Jonathan Wilcken

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Auckland Zoo opened its new $3.2m ‘Strangely Beautiful Australia’ development in late December and we proudly describe it as home to more than 20 of our Trans-Tasman neighbours’ weirdest and most wonderful wildlife

Weird is good, and we do think wonderful – and I think my Australian roots and first-hand experience of Aussie wildlife, entitle me to describe it so.

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Gymnastics Australia in the Cook Islands

by Brooke Kneebush, Oceania Development Manager Gymnastics Australia

The Cook Islands is one of three countries to recently establish a new Gymnastics Federation with support from the International governance body. To support this, Gymnastics Australia has assisted the new Cook Islands Gymnastics Federation to apply for Australian Government grants, including a Direct Aid Program (DAP) Grant through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, for equipment to conduct activities in local schools, villages and clubs.

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Why Prime Ministerial Visits Matter

Peter Woolcott

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New Zealand Prime Minister Bill English and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in Queenstown for the annual Leaders Meeting.

As the Australian High Commissioner to New Zealand the event you look forward to most each year is the annual Leaders Meeting.

While invariably short, these visits can accomplish a huge amount for a bilateral relationship.  They set the direction for work that will continue long after the PM’s plane leaves, and they build the foundations of mutual respect and trust between leaders which is so important in maintaining strong relationships between countries. It is also a chance to cut through bureaucratic thickets and get decisions made.

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Capital cities pioneering wildlife conservation together

Alison Russell-French

ZEALANDIA Ecosanctuary and the Woodlands and Wetlands Trust join forces.

There are two sanctuaries that lie across the Tasman, nestled in the capital of Australia. In one, birds dive, swoop and flutter in water against the backdrop of the city; in the other miniature kangaroos and spotted carnivorous marsupials rummage through tufts of grass and gumtrees inside the protective guard of a predator-proof fence. Jerrabomberra Wetlands and Mulligans Flat Woodland Sanctuary.

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‘ZEALANDIA by Night’ inspired the formation of Twilight Tours at Mulligans Flat Woodland Sanctuary. Here a group meet before embarking through the sanctuary at night in search of unique native wildlife. Photograph by Stephen Corey Continue reading

Beyond Belief – how we find meaning, with or without religion

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Hugh Mackay
Hugh Mackay recently spoke at Victoria University of Wellington as part of a tour to promote his new book Beyond Belief.

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Globally, religion is on the rise. Almost three-quarters of the world’s population identify with Christianity, Islam, Buddhism or Hinduism, and the graph is pointing upwards: by the middle of this century, 80 percent of the world’s population will identify with one of the four major religions.

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Joining forces to attract infrastructure investment

Brendan Headshot 11102016.jpgBrendan Lyon is the Chief Executive of Infrastructure Partnerships Australia

Australia and New Zealand have a great relationship, because we’ve got a lot of shared experience and a huge amount of mutual regard and trust.

That’s why the Closer Economic Relations treaty was possible – an agreement to integrate two national economies which remains a world-class example more than 30 years on.

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Australia lends a hand in Kaikoura

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After the earthquakes in Kaikoura last week, the Royal Australian Navy’s HMAS Darwin, Commanding Officer CMDR Phillip Henry and her crew were sent to support the response to the emergency.

As Lieutenant Brett Schulz said, in the Navy you have to “remain rubbery” – flexible and ready for change.

“One minute you might be ironing your whites in preparation for a Fleet Review, the next minute you’re in a sea boat heading ashore to render assistance to an earthquake affected town.”

LSET Vinnie Carrol and LSA Dan Colbert have shared their experiences helping the people of Kaikoura.

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Learnings from the Māori economy and benefits for Australia and New Zealand

Nick Williams, Former Second Secretary at the Australian High Commission in New Zealand

Learning about the growth of the Māori economy was a fascinating experience during my posting to New Zealand over the past three years. As an Australian of both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent, I thoroughly enjoyed engaging with Māori to gain a deeper understanding of culture and to explore the drivers of Māori economic development.

Nick

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The Battle of the Somme – 100 years on

Alison Duncan

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Two years ago, I undertook a pilgrimage to the Somme with my Kiwi fiancé and our baby son. I’m not a religious person and I don’t bandy about the term ‘pilgrimage’.  But as the great granddaughter of a Somme veteran and the fiancée of a former New Zealand army officer, there was indeed something of the spiritual in our passage around those beautiful green fields of France.

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A very Pacific solution for a Pacific challenge: the success of RAMSI

This week’s guest blogger is Quinton Devlin, Special Coordinator of the  Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI)

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Photo by http://www.ramsi.org/

Shortly after the first rays of dawn hit the tarmac of the Honiara international airport on 24 July 2003, Australian and New Zealand police, soldiers and civilians – along with forces from eventually 13 other Pacific Islands nations – began landing in Solomon Islands to help a neighbour ravaged by five years of ethnically-charged conflict. These men and women formed the first elements of the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands, widely known as RAMSI.

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