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Sonny Bill Williams has unveiled his new-look Blues jersey – seven days on from unleashing ‘collar-gate’ over his decision to blank out sponsor’s BNZ.

The code-swapping sensation ran onto Eden Park with a Blues jersey featuring neither BNZ or fellow key sponsor’s Investec’s branding, setting him apart from his team-mates for the Super Rugby clash against the Hurricanes.

Williams had objected to wearing a BNZ and Investec logo on his collar as his Muslim religious beliefs don’t allow him to promote banks, alcohol brands and gambling sponsors.

Instead, Williams’ jersey tonight the symbol of children’s charity Plunket on its collar.

Plunket is supported by BNZ, which suggested the community organisation fill the space on the collar of Williams’ playing jersey.

“Collar-gate” ignited widespread debate in the media and on social media over the past week, with the general consensus being that Williams should be allowed to adhere to the tenets of his religion.

Sonny-Bill Williams was in the starting line-up for the Blues. Photo / Peter Meecham
Sonny-Bill Williams was in the starting line-up for the Blues. Photo / Peter Meecham

But rugby officials did question how Williams handled the matter, saying communication should have been better in the lead-up to last weekend’s clash against the Highlanders when he used medical tape to cover up the BNZ logos.

Williams’ manager Khoder Nasser told the Herald on Sunday the player was “all for” supporting Plunket and the children and families the charity works with.

The 31-year-old has two daughters, Imaan and Aisha, with his wife Alana.

BNZ chief executive Anthony Healy said on Thursday, “We are delighted that Sonny Bill has agreed to give the space, previously allocated to BNZ, to another of our core sponsorships, Plunket, who provide a vital support service for children and new parents”.

Plunket chief executive Amanda Malu described Williams’ decision a “real honour”.

“We’re thrilled such a high-profile Kiwi dad and role model is getting behind Plunket,” she said.

“A lot of families will be watching this season and we’re proud to be there supporting Sonny Bill as a dedicated father and role model for Kiwi kids.

“Sonny Bill is helping Plunket remind parents that our services are here to support mums as well as dads.”

Malu said gestures like this made all the difference for Plunket, which relies on community support to continue its work.

Williams addressed his impromptu modifications to the Blues jersey mid-week, stating that the exemption he had now gained from wearing gear branded with BNZ’s logo – and that of Super Rugby sponsor Investec – was important to his religious beliefs.

“I want to be clear that this is nothing personal against the BNZ or Investec,” he said. “My objection to wearing clothing that markets banks, alcohol and gambling companies is central to my religious beliefs and it is important to me to have been granted this exemption.

“As I learn more and develop a deeper understanding of my faith, I am no longer comfortable doing things I used to do. So while a logo on a jersey might seem like a small thing to some people, it is important to me that I do the right thing with regards to my faith and hope that people respect that.

“I know I’m not perfect. Every day I work hard to become a better person. I want to thank the Blues and New Zealand Rugby for working with me through this matter over the last couple of days and respecting my religion and accommodating my request.”

Williams’ decision has had the full support of his team.

Williams will make his first start of the season at second-five in the only change from the side that lost in Dunedin. Rieko Ioane will start alongside the code-swapping star at centre, which sends All Black George Moala back to the bench.

 

-Source

Hughie Fury is so worried about squaring off against Joseph Parker in New Zealand that his backers are making desperate, last-ditch attempts to pull together millions in order to try move the WBO heavyweight title fight to the UK.

Peter Fury, Hughie’s father and trainer, was on holiday with his family and would not comment when contacted on Saturday night. But a source associated with the Fury camp confirmed all avenues were being explored to avoid coming to Auckland for the May 6 showdown.

The upshot is the travellers do not want to travel.

Joseph Parker's WBO belt will be on the line when he fights Hughie Fury.

Joseph Parker’s WBO belt will be on the line when he fights Hughie Fury.

Auckland’s Vector Arena is booked, tickets are on sale, and it is understood the Furys have assured Parker’s promoters Duco Events that if they can’t source the money they will begrudgingly come to Auckland 16 days before the fight. Discussions are ongoing.

British boxing great Ricky Hatton believes Hughie Fury will test Joseph Parker.

British boxing great Ricky Hatton believes Hughie Fury will test Joseph Parker.

With Parker set to bank $2.5 million and Fury $1.7 million, it would take a significant amount of money – possibly up to $5 million – to move the fight to Fury’s home in Manchester.

Sourcing that sort of dosh less than one month out from the title fight appears extremely unlikely. But the fact the Furys are even investigating the possibility shows just how worried they are about coming to take on Parker in his backyard; at the same venue he claimed the WBO belt with a majority decision victory over Andy Ruiz Jnr.

As mandatory challenger, the 20-0 Fury holds negotiating power Parker’s former challengers did not.

The Fury camp have, therefore, been able to make the process of pulling together the fight in New Zealand as difficult as possible.

Parker’s camp won a purse bid of $4.1 million – $200,000 more than the Furys bid – in Puerto Rico in February and thus hold all the rights to decide where the bout will be held.

Fury, who hasn’t fought in over a year and may be trying to buy himself more time, originally planned to be in New Zealand already but his camp are understood to be suspicious of New Zealand sparring partners leaking tactics to the Parker camp.

The 22-year-old will now run a closed shop when he finally arrives – but only after doing everything possible not to make the journey.

 

-Source

Thousands of holidaymakers are set to battle mass traffic as they return from their Easter breaks – but relief from gridlock could be just a swipe of the finger away.

Heavy congestion brought parts of Auckland’s southern motorway, and SH1 both north and south of the City of Sails to a standstill as holidaymakers who had delayed their travel due to Cyclone Cook left town.

And those keen on avoiding the worst of the gridlock tomorrow around the country as the long weekend ends could do well to log into the Google map app.

Overseas research has shown the app has already proved to be a Godsend for Aucklanders, cutting driving times on average by 8 per cent and public transport times by 13 per cent.

And the data crunched by AlphaBeta, a Sydney and Singapore-based economic strategy consultancy, showed Google Maps supported more than $600 million in consumer benefits for New Zealand in 2015.

The free app is worth $170 a year to New Zealanders through time savings to find local businesses, landmarks, travelling from A to B and planning overseas holidays, according to AlphaBeta.

Spokesman Konstantin Matthies said using techniques similar to New Zealand’s Automobile Association “we have found that using Maps to plan and navigate routes has cutting driving times in Auckland by 8 per cent, or around 4 hours per years for every driver.

We’ve also run the analysis for public transport users, finding they save around 2 hours a year via Maps

Konstantin Matthies, AlphaBeta

AlphaBeta analysed more than 17,000 simulated driving and public transport trips in Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington, as well as survey data from New Zealanders using Google Maps to plan or navigate routes.

Driving times reduced by 8 per cent in Auckland and 6 per cent in Wellington and Christchurch. Public transport users reduced their travelling times in Auckland by 13 per cent, Christchurch by 9 per cent and Wellington by 12 per cent.

Another benefit of the Map app, said AlphaBeta, is reduced environmental impact. Using average vehicle speeds and occupancy rates, it estimates savings of between 14,500 and 19,500 tonnes of carbon dioxide. This is the equivalent of between 3000 and 4000 fewer cars on the road.

The AA is using data collected from the Google Map app at more than 50 busy routes across Auckland to better understand the causes and effects of congestion.

There are plans for monthly reports on congestion trends, a possible television slot, advice for planned events like the Adele concerts and holiday traffic and immediate responses for unplanned events like car crashes and road closures.

“We think this will lead to a more informed debate. That means keeping public expectations real and cutting out political promises of ‘silver bullet’ solutions,” said AA infrastructure principal adviser Barney Irvine.

Auckland’s rapid population growth has led to a quarter of the city’s busiest roads, including Lake Rd, Lincoln Rd and routes to the airport, being congested at peak hours, up from 18 per cent in just three years. Auckland Transport said one in three main roads will be congested by 2020.

“The idea is to help de-mystify congestion for the public. By focusing on the bigger picture and talking about what people can do to minimise some of congestion’s impacts, we can help to reduce some of the stress,” said Irvine.

The AA began collecting the Google data in about October last year. It is also collecting data in Wellington and Christchurch.

Google maps – how it works

• Web mapping service offering satellite imagery, street maps, 360 degree panoramic views
• Was launched in 2005
• Features real-time traffic conditions
• Route planning covers travel by car, bicycle, public transport and foot
• Best possible routes are offered up based on traffic jams and avoiding delays
• Traffic alerts are also issued, including how long you could be stuck in congestion
• A development in 2007 saw real-time traffic data being used, including a display of the speed of vehicles on particular roads
• In 2012, Google revealed more than 7000 employees and contractors were involved in the mapping process
• In August 2013 was voted by smartphone owners as the world’s most popular app

 

-Source

Ahead of his Saturday Night Live appearance this weekend, Harry Styles has released the name of the songs on his new self-titled record.

Usually, this would be exciting, but not massive news. However one of the song names has got New Zealand fans fizzing.

However, one of the song titles has New Zealand fans fizzing.

The self-titled record will be released May 12, 2017, and features 10 songs.

The crazy thing? One of the songs is titled “Kiwi”!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Obviously, this has shaken our small wee country, with many taking to Twitter to express delight that he may be releasing a song about New Zealand.

But others have pointed out that the song may be just about the fruit called kiwi, as he’s once said that it’s his favourite…

The suspense is killing us!

US President Donald Trump’s tweets are adding fuel to a “vicious cycle” of tensions on the Korean Peninsula, North Korea’s vice foreign minister said on Friday.

The official added that if the US showed any sign of “reckless” military aggression, Pyongyang was ready to launch a pre-emptive strike of its own.

Vice Minister Han Song Ryol said Pyongyang has determined the Trump administration is “more vicious and more aggressive” than that of Barack Obama. He said North Korea would keep building up its nuclear arsenal in “quality and quantity” and said Pyongyang was ready to go to war if that’s what Trump wanted.

Tensions between Pyongyang and Washington go back to US President Harry Truman and the 1950-53 Korean War, which ended in an armistice, not a peace treaty. But the heat has been rising rapidly since Trump took office in January.

This year’s joint war games between the US and South Korean militaries are the biggest so far – the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier has been diverted back to the waters off Korea after heading for Australia, and US satellite imagery suggests the North could conduct another underground nuclear test at any time. Pyongyang recently tested a ballistic missile and claims it is close to perfecting an intercontinental ballistic missile and nuclear warhead that could attack the US mainland.

Many experts believe that at its current pace of testing, North Korea could reach that potentially game-changing milestone within a few years – under Trump’s watch as president. Despite reports that Washington is considering military action if the North goes ahead with another nuclear test, Han did not rule out the possibility of a test in the near future.

“That is something that our headquarters decides,” he said during the 40-minute interview in Pyongyang, which is now gearing up for a major holiday – and possibly a big military parade – on Saturday. “At a time and at a place where the headquarters deems necessary, it will take place.”

US President Donald Trump said last year he was willing to meet North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, but a senior Korean ...

US President Donald Trump said last year he was willing to meet North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, but a senior Korean official dismissed the claim as “lip service”.

The North conducted two such tests last year alone. The first was of what it claims to have been a hydrogen bomb and the second was its most powerful ever. Expectations are high the North may put its newest missiles on display during Saturday’s parade.

The annual US-South Korea military exercises have consistently infuriated the North, which views them as rehearsals for an invasion. Washington and Seoul deny that, but reports that exercises have included “decapitation strikes” aimed at the North’s leadership have fanned Pyongyang’s anger.

Han said Trump’s tweets had also added fuel to the flames.

North Korea says the US is pushing the situation on the Korean peninsula “to the brink of war” as an American naval fleet nears the region.

Trump posted a tweet on Tuesday in which he said the North is “looking for trouble” and reiterated his call for more pressure from Beijing, North Korea’s economic lifeline, to clamp down on trade and strengthen its enforcement of UN sanctions to persuade Pyongyang to denuclearise.

Trump has threatened that if Beijing isn’t willing to do more to squeeze the North, the US might take the matter into its own hands.

“Trump is always making provocations with his aggressive words,” Han said. “It’s not the DPRK but the US and Trump that makes trouble.” North Korea’s official name is the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

Han said the sanctions approach is misguided and cited the opening ceremony of a sprawling new high-rise residential area in Pyongyang on Thursday as evidence that sanctions have failed to ruin the country’s economy. Leader Kim Jong Un presided over the ceremony before about 100,000 residents and a large contingent of foreign journalists who have been allowed in to cover the holiday.

Han dismissed the suggestion Trump made last year during his presidential campaign that he was willing to meet Kim Jong Un, possibly over hamburgers.

“I think that was nothing more than lip service during the campaign to make himself more popular,” Han said. “Now we are comparing Trump’s policy toward the DPRK with the former administration’s and we have concluded that it’s becoming more vicious and more aggressive.”

Han said North Korea changed its military strategy two years ago, when the reports of “decapitation strike” training began to really get attention, to stress pre-emptive actions.

“We’ve got a powerful nuclear deterrent already in our hands, and we certainly will not keep our arms crossed in the face of a US pre-emptive strike,” he said. “Whatever comes from the US, we will cope with it. We are fully prepared to handle it.”

How much such comments are bluster, or how realistic they are, is hard to gauge.

Later on Friday, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said all sides must stop provoking and threatening and start taking a flexible approach to resuming dialogue. He said China was willing to support any such effort.

“Once a war really happens, the result will be nothing but multiple-loss. No-one can become a winner,” Wang said. “No matter who it is, if it wants to make war or trouble on the Korean Peninsula, it must take the historical responsibility and pay the due price.”

South Korea’s Foreign Ministry said Han’s remarks on the North’s readiness to conduct a nuclear test and even go to war reveal the “true colours of North Korea’s government that is bellicose and a breaker of regulations”.

The ministry issued a statement saying North Korea will face strong punishment it will find hard to withstand if it makes a significant provocation, such as another nuclear test or an ICBM launch.

Military experts generally agree a shooting war with North Korea would likely be far more costly than something along the lines of the recent targeted strike Trump ordered against a Syrian air base believed to be linked to a chemical weapons attack by the regime of Bashir Assad. That attack alarmed the North and was condemned as “unpardonable” by Pyongyang, which counts Syria as an ally.

Even without nuclear weapons, the North could cause severe damage with its conventional artillery batteries aimed at the South Korean capital of Seoul.

 

-Source

Hot cross buns are a staple in every New Zealand home around this time of the year, but why have an overrated bread roll when you can take it to THE NEXT LEVEL. Here are 6 ways to smash a hot cross bun – guaranteed to give you diabetes take easter to the next level….

6. Finger a crème egg into the middle and Panini press it

What could be better than combining two of Easter’s iconic treats in a total mash up of calories? Simply make a well in the side of your hot cross bun with your finger, then, insert a fresh Creme Egg into the centre (much like you would stuff a turkey on Christmas). Delicious right? Well, it’s about to get a lot better! To complete your easter treat, simply panini press your creation so that the Creme Egg melts in the middle, and oozes out when you shove it in your fat gob. Yum!

5. Hot Cross Fairy Bread… So basically heaps of butter… and sprinkles…

Easter is the perfect excuse for grown ass adults to act like complete children. And what could be more childlike than some sweet fairy bread? Take that hot cross bun, slather on roughly a butt tonne of butter on each side, and the go H.A.M with the sprinkles – the round ones obviously, what are we, animals?

4. Chocolate coated… like a Mr Whippy…

Okay, we know what you’re thinking, there already are chocolate hot cross buns. WRONG! Well, you’re technically right actually… but by simply fondue-ing your hot cross bun into chocolate, you still get that spiced cinnamon taste along with chocolatey goodness we will inevitably have too much of.

3. With Bacon… Apparently, the bacon makes the Hot Cross Bun POP!

Bacon is arguably the single most delicious substance known to human kind, so it’s no wonder it would make a hot cross bun better. While bacon bits cooked into the dough is the best way to do this, we’re not Martha Stuart. So if you’re not baking from scratch, slice that MF in half and crisscross the bacon like in a BLT…without the L or T.

2. Get the whole 6 pack, keep it as one, half it all in half, Smear butter and golden syrup into the middle, chocolate chips and bake until gooey…

Think of this as like a hot cross bun casserole, enough for the whole family…or you, we’re not here to judge. Making a batch like this will keep the syrup inside to caramelise and in baking terms “get yummier.”

1. Deep Fry them, then roll them in cinnamon sugar…HOT CROSS CHURRO!

The best thing you could do to a hot cross bun is to make it more like a doughnut. Unfortunately, this takes more effort than shoving a choccy egg into its bready womb. If you have a deep fryer, then you have been given a golden opportunity to try this recipe, for the rest of you, be careful of spitting oil, hot cross churros are only worth so much.

-Source: ZM

    Waiouru

    ANZAC Day will be commemorated at the National Army Museum Te Mata Toa with two services on Tuesday 25 April 2017. The dawn service will begin at 6am, while the civilian service is at 11am.

    Both services will be supported by military personnel from the nearby Waiouru Military Training Camp. At the conclusion of the dawn service, the Museum and Home Fires Cafe will open to the public at the special time of 7am.

    ANZAC Day opening hours: 7am – 4:30pm

    Services within the building are provided free of charge, however, normal admission prices to the Museum still apply.

    Events and activities:
    – Heartlanders: New Zealanders of the Great War – free outdoor exhibition
    – Going Underground: Tunnellers in WWI featuring photographs by Brett Killington and Tunnel Technology
    – Poppy Air Balloon Display
    – Military vehicles from the Museum’s own collection on display
    – Kidz HQ – an interactive educational space for children and families
    – Animals at War Children’s Activity Trail

    Image result for anzac day waiouru

    Taupo

    Fallen servicemen and women will be remembered in dawn and civic services around the Taupo District on Anzac Day. The main ceremony will be held at the cenotaph on Tongariro Domain in Taupo at dawn. Those involved in the dawn parade will depart the Taupo RSA on Horomatangi St at 5.50am. It will travel along Horomatangi, Ruapehu, Tamamutu and Tongariro streets before arriving at the cenotaph for the 6.15am service. This is a new route to accommodate for those with mobility issues as it avoids the speed bumps of Heuheu Street.

    At 10.30am, a civic service and parade will be held. Mayor David Trewavas is scheduled to take part in the service and to make a short speech.

    The following roads will be closed on Friday, 25 April 2014 from 5.30am to 8am and again from 9.30am to 12pm:  Tongariro Street between Spa Road and Lake Terrace and Horomatangi Street between Ruapehu and Titiraupenga Streets.

    All ex-servicemen and women as well as other interested parties can take part in the parade. Those who want to join in can assemble outside the Taupo Bowling Club on Lake Terrace at 10.15am, ready to march to the cenotaph outside the Great Lake Centre.

    Image result for anzac day taupo

    Mangakino

    A civic service will be held at 10.15am at the RSA Cemetery on Lake Road. That will be followed at 11am by a service at the cenotaph in the grounds of the Mangakino District Services and Citizens Club on Wairenga Road.

    Image result for anzac day mangakino

    Turangi

    In the southern settlements, a dawn service will be held at Waihi Marae at 5.45am. It will be followed later by a parade at the Turangi Services Cemetery on Aonini Road, Turangi at 10am. At 10.50am there will be a march from Turangi town centre to Tokaanu-Turangi and Districts Memorial RSA clubrooms, Katopu Place, Turangi, where a civic service will be held.

    Image result for anzac day

     Rotorua

    ANZAC Day marks New Zealand’s first major engagement of World War One at Gallipoli, Turkey. While it was a terrible defeat, it has gone on to become a legend of sacrifice.

    On Tuesday 25 April 2017 the team from Rotorua Museum will be based at Te Rūnanga Tearooms (Government Gardens) from 9am until 3pm with a range of activities to commemorate ANZAC Day.

    Visitors can come to reflect and remember all the men and women who have served their country, showing courage and loyalty.

    Take time to remember those whose lives have been lost by writing a message on a poppy. These poppies can be added to our ANZAC Day remembrance displays.

    Children will have the opportunity to create their own poppy wreath to honour fallen soldiers in our free craft activity.

    For further information please contact Rotorua Museum:
    Phone – 07 351 8456 or Email – Kathy.nicholls@rotorualc.nz

    ANZAC Day - Ka Maumahara Tonu Tātau Ki a Rātau

    Palmerston North

    The Palmerston North Dawn Service commences a 6am at the cenotaph in The Square.

    This service follows the military tradition for services and is a service of significance for returned veterans and service people.

    – 5:30: Dawn Service Parade to form on Church Street between Grand Hotel and All Saints Church. Any RSA veterans in wheelchairs assemble outside the former Post Office Cnr Main St and The Square, opposite the iSite.
    – 6:00: Dawn Service commences
    – 6:30: Dawn Service returns to Cosmopolitan Club (Linton St)
    – 6:30: Breakfast service opens at Cosmopolitan Club
    – 8:00: Breakfast service closes

    Registrations are required for laying of wreaths – please go to the website ww1.pncc.govt.nz/anzac or call PNCC on 356 8199 by 5pm 19 April to register. Please also register any group or organisation that wishes to march in the parade.

    Note: There is also a Civic Service at 9:15am at the cenotaph.

    Image result for anzac day palmerston north

    Fielding

    The parade will leave the RSA on Bowen Street at 6:15am followed by the Dawn Service at the cenotaph in Manchester Square at 6:30am.

    Image result for anzac day fielding

     

     

    Too bad smell-o-vision technology isn’t readily available just yet.

    After pulling some old furniture that had been sitting in storage for the past nine years, this guy discovered an old painted Easter egg hiding behind one of the couch cushions.

    So what do you do with a 9-year-old egg? Break it open and see what’s inside, of course.

    While the looks of the egg are disgusting enough, we can only imagine how awful it must smell.

     

    -Source


    A video clip of Kiwi preschool children playing in a rain storm has been viewed more than 26 million times on social media, with the director of the centre saying the clip had prompted people to remember the freedom of their own “lost childhoods”.

    Pukekos Educare in Thames posted a 33-second clip of children at the centre swooshing down a slide into a huge puddle of mud in the middle of a downpour.

    The giddy, joyous laughter of the children can be clearly heard, as they shriek and giggle whilst plunging into the mud, sometimes head-first.

    Since being posted on Thursday the video has been viewed more than 26 million times, with people watching from as far afield as Denmark, Scotland and the US.

    Miffy Welsh, the director of the childcare centre, said she had been inundated with messages from around the world, and thought the video tapped into an undercurrent of longing for simple childhoods full of play and fun.

    “In the thousands of comments, people seem to be yearning and longing for their own lost childhoods, and the childhoods of their children, which are so dominated by screens,” Welsh told the Guardian.

    “Play is crucial for children’s development, and I hope this tiny little clip inspires parents to allow them the freedom to just be kids.”

    Welsh told the Herald she never dreamed the video would “literally take the world by storm”.

    “It was lovely to hear of the joy it brought so many and also highlighted the need for us to advocate even more to ensure children get to have this experience worldwide.”

    Welsh said she hopes the millions of views help change attitudes and practices across the world.

    “Every child deserves to be full of play, nature, friendships and unbridled joy.”

    Of the more than 14,000 comments on Facebook most were overwhelmingly positive, saying it was amazing to see children allowed the opportunity for unstructured, messy fun.

    This is exactly what childhood is about!” wrote Dale Bowes. “Not hiding inside playing on a smartphone but interacting with each other outside, making the most of nature and outdoors. Don’t bubblewrap your kids because they won’t live and learn. Let them get bumps, grazes and bruises and getting soaked in the rain from having a great time! At least that’s how my childhood was and it was brilliant.”

    Many commenters from the US said such unorthodox playtime wouldn’t be allowed in their childcare centres, including a woman who worked in one.

    “We would be shut down just for playing on ‘wet slides’,” she wrote. “Good to see kids being kids! Learning by trial and error!! Love it.”

    A few people raised concerns about the lack of teacher supervision in the video, or that the children were at risk of catching germs or an illness. “I see the danger of possibly lightning striking that tree, travelling to roots and hurting the children,” wrote Janie Lipsmeyerfrom Texas.

    “I know it’s a one in millions chance that would happen, but perhaps this event should be left for the children to do in their own homes and not at a school, the business is risking a possible huge liability should it all go wrong.”

    Welsh said after the “spontaneous fun” was over the children headed inside to hot showers, fluffy towels and dry clothes.

     

    -Source

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