Western Leader : February 10th 2011
20 WESTERN LEADER, FEBRUARY 10, 2011 NEWS 0800 10 95 10 www.languages.unitec.ac.nz Advance your English skills in English as an Additional Language UNLAN160a Do you already speak English quite well? The Graduate Certificate in English as an Additional Language can help you become even more fluent in English. It will enhance your English language skills, increase your job opportunities, and equip you with the skills and confidence for further study. You will learn to speak and write English fluently, accurately and confidently in both formal and informal contexts. Full-time or part-time study options available. Starts 7 March. Enrol now. Grocers prepare to have a ball Dressed for the occasion: The annual Grocery Charity Ball is coming up. From left: Grocery Charity Ball trustee Karen Kelly, trustee Leanne Carroll, the Hearing House chief executive Scott Johnston, marketing manager Jo Johnstone, fundraising and communications manager Mary Jane Boland and charity ball trustee Don Graham. Photo: JASON OXENHAM By RHIANNON HORRELL The bow ties are being adjusted and the glamor- ous dresses are being fit- ted for the eighth annual Grocery Charity Ball on August 19. The event, organised by supermarket giants Foodstuffs and Progress- ive, is planned for August and is aiming to raise $300,000 for The Hearing House. The charity helps hearing-impaired chil- dren to listen and speak and the ball will pull together members of the grocery industry for a high-class night of enter- tainment and fun. The funding will mean The Hearing House can launch new video confer- ence technology to allow access to therapy for those who live in remote or rural areas of New Zealand. Charity chief executive Scott Johnston says the therapy is called Tele AVT or Auditory Verbal Therapy. The problems with early intervention ser- vices is that they are usually based in big cit- ies. We will be delivering therapy which is usually one-on-one. This will allow families to have therapy every week. We re trying to re- move inequities of ser- vice due to location. Funds raised will also go towards a mentoring programme for hearing- impaired teenagers. Charity ball trustee Don Graham says last year $270,000 was raised for the Melanoma Foun- dation and he would like to top that figure for the Hearing House. Tickets $295 + GST per person See www.grocery charityball.org for details. Weed warriors go raiding Unique environment: Volunteer Danilo Ignacio and Conservation Department botanist Steve Benham chat about the best way to remove weeds from near the tracks which cross the island. Photo: ANNELIES ZWAAN Rangitoto Island is the visual centrepiece of our city. But what most people don't know is that the biodiversity which makes the volcanic island unique is slowly being destroyed. Reporter Hannah Spyksma accompanied staff from Auckland Zoo for a day's volunteer work on the island. Approaching Rangitoto Island for the first time feels as if I m about to step on to the set of Jur- assic Park. Blackened lava flows extend like creeping fingers reaching into blue water, with the looming volcano setting a daunting backdrop to this island paradise. But as the boat pulls up to Islington Bay Wharf, it is the sheer size of the massive pohutukawa forest which is perhaps most striking. Rangitoto Island has one of the largest pohutukawa forest in the world and the iconic New Zealand natives are under threat. Iamontheislandfora day to help with a joint Auckland Zoo and Con- servation Department project, aimed at manag- ing the weed rhamnus alaternus, which is slowly overtaking the red-flowering trees. There s more than 600 species of plants naturalised around the Auckland area, and a lot of people don t realise they re not natives, Con- servation Department ranger Steve Benham says. Rhamnus, known by its common name ever- green buckthorn, could easily be mistaken as a harmless addition to the island scenery. As we unload from the boat and walk across jag- ged scoria to reach the patch of bush where we will spend the day work- ing, you can see how important it is to pre- serve this island forest. Almost 85 percent of New Zealand s native plants aren t found any- where else in the world, and with the increase of foreign flora, their environment is being destroyed. Pohutukawa on Rangi- toto are also smaller than those on mainland, and help make up the unique scenic reserve which is one of Auck- land s drawcards. Without these plants there is no habitat for animals, you ve got nothing, Auckland Zoo urban ark co-ordinator Lyn Claridge says as we stop and get out the gloves, pruners, saws and herbicide needed to remove the pesky plants. DOC has been remov- ing weeds from the island since 1993 -- an ongoing process costing $140,000 a year. Lyn and zoo staff come here regularly to help, because they know that if these trees go, so will the opportunities to release native birds and animals to their natural habitats. It s hard physical work as we sweat the day out pruning and sawing the towering weeds. But the sense of achievement is immense. For Tanya Sheenan, zookeeper for New Zea- land animals, this work is particularly poignant. If the biodiversity on the island is managed, there is potential to introduce kakapo and the ancient tuatara liz- ard to Rangitoto. She and fellow zoo staff push through the tangled mane of trees, all of us helping to identify and remove the rham- nus. Some are already taller than the pohutukawa. We work until it begins to rain in the afternoon, by which point I am beginning to think every plant I see is a weed. A wet but enjoyable boat trip around other islands in the Hauraki Gulf to pick up DOC staff completed the day, with a dolphin sighting in the harbour making this trip to Rangitoto definitely memorable. When I get back to the office, an email from Steve Benham confirms that our group of nine volunteers did 40 and a half hours of labour, or $1560 of weed contrac- tors time. The process of manag- ing rhamnus is a hard slog. But the help of enthusiastic volunteers means Rangitoto is closer to remaining our own Jurassic Park -- tuatara and all.
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