National News & Alerts

Plea to drivers – don’t ignore traffic management

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency will close on-and-off-ramps overnight while critical work is done on State Highway 1 (SH1) to avoid a repeat of incidents where drivers have attempted to drive the wrong way up a motorway off-ramp.

On and off-ramp night-time closures have been in place between Johnsonville and Tawa as workers install fibre for new electronic signage and CCTV cameras.

During work at the Tawa interchange, which included the closure of the southbound on-ramp, several drivers travelling north from Tawa towards Takapu Road ignored numerous detour and road closure signs. They then attempted to drive the wrong way up the southbound Tawa off-ramp to access the southbound motorway lanes and continue their journey south.

“Driving the wrong way on any road is a disaster waiting to happen – these incidents put those drivers, our workers and the public at risk,” says Mark Owen, Regional Maintenance and Operations Manager.

Mr Owen says the drivers were only stopped by traffic management workers, who physically prevented them from continuing the wrong way up the off-ramp and onto SH1.

“There was clear traffic management in place all the way through the Tawa interchange, and it was only thanks to the quick thinking of our contractors that a potential disaster was averted.

“Our top priority is keeping everyone safe on the roads, so while this work continues, we have no option but to close both on and off-ramps during the night to prevent people driving in the wrong direction. We acknowledge this will be further inconvenience for the public, but it is the only way to prevent this happening again.”

The southbound on and off-ramps at Tawa will be closed for two weeks from Sunday 28 November between 9pm and 5.30am on Sunday to Thursday nights.

Drivers who would normally use these on and off-ramps are asked to plan ahead and use the local road network via SH1 Mungavin Avenue/Titahi Bay or Churton Park/Glenside interchanges.

The closures are to allow Waka Kotahi to install new technology and signage on SH1 that will help people navigate the road safely and more easily, safety and keep them informed of any incidents or crashes ahead.

It is part of an ongoing programme of improvements to the regional state highway network, which will continue up to and beyond the opening of the Transmission Gully motorway.

For more information follow the Waka Kotahi Wellington Facebook page or visit the Wellington Network Operational Readiness webpage:

Plan ahead for a safe, enjoyable journey. Keep up to date with:

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency works to create transport solutions for all New Zealanders – from helping new drivers earn their licences, to leading safety campaigns to investing in public transport, state highways and local roads.


Know the water safety code to stay safe in the water this summer

November is Water Safety Awareness month and, with summer approaching, Water Safety New Zealand (WSNZ) is cautioning New Zealanders that more fatalities occur in spring and summer than at any other time during the year[1].

Warmer weather will see more New Zealanders heading to our beaches, lakes and rivers. Research[2] conducted in 2021 found that 3.2 million (85 percent) Kiwis visited the coast in the past 12 months, almost half of them (48 percent) doing so monthly, and a quarter of Kiwis also visiting rivers made up predominantly of young people under 25 years.

People aren’t just taking in the scenery either; over 2 million people are active while visiting the coast, including swimming or playing in the water.

WSNZ’s Chief Executive, Daniel Gerrard, says: “We want everyone to enjoy their time whether it’s at the beach, lake or river but remind people to take personal responsibility for theirs and their family’s safety in or around water.

“Be prepared, know the risks and your limits, and watch out for yourself and others.”

WSNZ says swimming at the beach or river is quite different to swimming in a pool and poses additional risk. While a third of people swimming in the ocean, and a quarter swimming at rivers, say it is not at all or not very hazardous, the drowning statistics prove otherwise. Swimming has the highest number of preventable drownings[3] compared to other water-related activities, with 95 deaths recorded over the past five years (2016-2020: 390 incidents).

WSNZ is urging people to know the water safety code for safe play in the water.
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Alert Levels and updates

Learn about the COVID-19 Protection Framework

New child safeguarding bite-sized learning modules

We have created a suite of new bite-sized modules as an introduction to key topics relating to child safeguarding and how to support a great environment for tamariki and rangatahi.

Part of the Integrity Guidance Portal, the modules are free to use and each should take between two and five minutes to complete.

There are eight modules designed for anyone organising, coaching or supporting children in sport or recreation, such as coaches, club members, parents and whanau of participants. The modules explore topics such as understanding the motivations of children, how to build safe and trusted relationships with young people, appropriate approaches for different ages and stages of development and supporting diversity when working with children.

These modules will help build a base-level understanding of child safeguarding and act as a gateway into some of our more indepth e-learning modules that are available on our free e-Learning platform, Sport Tutor, where you can record your learning and move at your own pace.

The eight quick learn modules cover:

Building safe and trusted relationships with children
Motivations of children
Contributing to positive environments
Needs of difference ages and stages of children
Interactions based on level of development
Appropriate actions when interacting with children
Embracing diversity
Responding to varied behaviours of children

Start your learning journey here

Government to open Auckland border on December 15, allowing travel for Christmas

The Auckland border will be lifted on December 15 to allow for Christmas travel, by which time the entire country will have moved into the less restrictive “traffic light” system – whether or not the Government’s 90 per cent vaccination target is reached.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the planned opening of Auckland on Wednesday, ending weeks of speculation about how the Government would manage the busy Christmas period after it promised that months of lockdown restrictions would end for summer.

From December 15, fully vaccinated people will be able to travel across the Auckland border freely. People who are unvaccinated will only be able to leave Auckland if they receive a negative Covid-19 test 72 hours prior to departure, but there will be no similar restriction on unvaccinated people entering Auckland. Police will conduct “random spot checks” to enforce this rule.

“This may be our toughest period to date … While I know there will be some who will think our moves [are] too fast, others too slow, I have no doubt that it is the best plan to keep us as safe and free as possible, to transition us safely to a new way of managing Covid,” Ardern said.

Covid-19: Aucklanders won’t be ‘trapped over Christmas’, PM promises
Covid-19: Covid doesn’t take a holiday
Covid-19: Vaccinated Aucklanders should be able to travel across border for Christmas – Jacinda Ardern

The decision to move the entire country into the traffic light system “soon after” November 29 means the Government has effectively abandoned its target of reaching 90 per cent vaccination across each district health board before making the shift.

“Traffic light system is better designed for our new strategy to minimise and protect against Covid-19, and is more fit for purpose than the alert levels.

“It also offers greater incentives to be vaccinated and greater protections for both those who are and aren’t. That’s why it’s time to get ready to move,” Ardern said.

Ardern said Auckland would move into the “red” setting of the system, as would parts of the country with lower vaccination rates.

“This will add protections and hopefully also support an increase in vaccinations.”

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Furry Friday: Canine brighteners making life better

Tokyo is a Maltese-Shih Tzu, but in his own mind he's Superdog.Ruby Lee relishes the Waiheke Island lifestyle at Oneroa Beach. Mr Guinness takes a meditative moment in the garden.


I needed to relax and decompress this week. So I headed off to a friend’s bach with a stack of library books and a cooler bag full of frozen home-cooked meals. But the best thing I took with me was my dog.

Riley was the ideal companion. He got me up each morning before I’d had a chance to oversleep, and out for a two-hour walk every every day. Then he snuggled with me for the rest of the day as I read.

Dogs balance us out. Their delight in life neutralises our worries, their curiosity and openness can cancel our tendency to get too serious. So today’s pet photo collection – not for the first time – is a tribute to dogs taking joy in life and thereby improving ours. Scroll and enjoy!

Gisborne floods: Landslide risk warning as rain continues to fall

Some areas received more than 200mm of rain in a 24-hour period, the Gisborne District Council says.

A local state of emergency is continuing in Tairāwhiti/Gisborne on Friday after steady rain contributed to flooding overnight.

Some areas have received more than 200 millimetres of rain on Thursday and the heavy rain forced some residents to leave their homes amid worsening flooding and rising river levels.

Kupu Lloyd, civil defence operator for Gisborne District Council, said river levels had dropped on Friday morning, but concerns remained.

“There’s quite a lot of surface flooding, and the ground is saturated, so we are starting to get quite a few landslides,” he said.


Residents leave homes, some rescued by boat, after state of emergency declared in Gisborne
At least 1400 homes still without power between Gisborne and Hawke’s Bay
Huge slip between Wairoa and Gisborne creates large lake and “significant hazard”

High tide was at 6:36am and the Taruheru River did not appear to be at risk of breaking its banks, he said.

NZ Government logo

Healthy Active Learning initiative to expand to 800 schools and kura

Healthy Active Learning is a joint initiative between Sport NZ and the Ministries of Health and Education that has been implemented across more than 300 schools and kura since last year.

COVID-19 Sports Sector Update – 1 November

Kia ora koutou,

I hope you are safe and well as we begin a new week and month.

This email summarises today’s media conference which brings better news for Auckland and the Waikato.

  • Restrictions in the Waikato will ease from 11.59pm tomorrow (Tuesday) with a step down to Alert Level 3, Step 2.
  • In principle, there will be a move for Auckland to Alert Level 3, Step 2 from Tuesday 9th November at 11.59pm.

As this is the first time we have moved into a step 2 setting, we are connecting with the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (DPMC) to clarify the changes for sport and recreation, covering the expansion to gatherings sizes and what this means for public facilities.

We aim to be back in touch as quickly as possible once the changes to the Alert Level Order are confirmed. If you are scenario planning, please be sure to check the final guidance before changing your operational plans.

As always, if you have any questions, please contact your Partnership Manager or send COVID-19 related queries to this address:

Ngā mihi and thank you for your ongoing patience,

Raelene Castle

Ministry of Health

More than 3.1 million New Zealanders now fully vaccinated

The order of our daily numbers has changed from today, to better reflect the shift in New Zealand’s current response to COVID-19 and the importance of vaccination. For more information

This includes data showing our progress on reaching 90% fully vaccinated eligible people across Aotearoa.

COVID-19 hospitalisation numbers are also highlighted. All other numbers, including daily case updates, remain in the table below.

There were more than 20,000 vaccines administered yesterday taking NZ’s vaccination rate to 88% for first doses and 75% for second doses representing 3,159,301 fully vaccinated New Zealanders.

Getting vaccinated will help to stop you and your loved ones getting seriously ill and could save your life and theirs. If you haven’t been vaccinated, please get your first dose today.

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Fire and Emergency NZ - Install working smoke alarms to give yourself a warningFire and Emergency NZ - Install working smoke alarms to give yourself a warning

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