Good News: Stories that cheered us up for the week of 18-24 March

Science finds traditional Pacific knowledge offers valuable tools, a trio of 12-year-old movie stars, a clutch of beagles and the return of a rare bird are among the week’s feel-good stories, from RNZ.

A fisher boat in Samoa, where ten types of wind are recognised in traditional lore. Lukas Coch/AP

Pacific Islanders knowledge backed up by science

People have inhabited the Pacific Islands for 3000  years or more and have experienced many climate-driven challenges to their livelihoods and survival. They have coped not by luck but by design – through robust systems of traditional knowledge built by diverse groups of people over time.

Scientists have reviewed evidence on traditional knowledge in the Pacific for coping with climate change, and found much of it was scientifically plausible. This indicates such knowledge should play a significant role in sustaining Pacific Island communities in future.

The young stars of The Mountain: Terence Daniel (Bronco), Reuben Francis (Mallory) and Elizabeth Atkinson (Sam)

Three 12-year-olds meet a mountain

There are four shining stars on screen in the new joyous and heartfelt Aotearoa New Zealand film The Mountain – the directorial debut of acclaimed actor Rachel House.

The first is the majestic mountain itself, Taranaki Maunga, in all its moods. The other three are Aotearoa’s latest movie stars – who are only 12 years old.

The film is about finding healing with the help of the mountain, discovering friendship in the adventures and many challenges along the way.

Auckland Beagle Club

Barking good time at the Auckland Beagle Club

Beagles have been sniffing luggage at airports and sea ports nationwide, and a group of Auckland owners think the scent hounds are so special that they’re part of a club. The Auckland Beagle Club has been running for 40 years and every six weeks they gather together for a walk.

The club offers friends, fresh air and furry faces – everyone leaves the event happier.

Searchers excitedly gather around the discovery.

Aotearoa’s 10th meteorite discovered

Aotearoa’s 10th meteorite has been discovered on Crown land in the South Island’s Mackenzie Country by a group of eagle-eyed citizen scientists. The space rock entered Earth’s atmosphere at a speed of 50 to 60 kilometres per second on 13 March. It was spotted by Dennis Behan, a member of Fireballs Aotearoa, who was relaxing in his spa bath in Queenstown when it tore through the atmosphere. About 20 searchers set off this week to find the rock, south of Lake Tekapo. After finding the meteorite, the searchers celebrated at the pub!

Christchurch Mayor Phil Mauger on Christchurch Adventure Park's zipline on March 22, 2024, the day the park reopened following the Port Hills fire.

Christchurch Adventure Park reopens after February Port Hills fire

Christchurch Mayor Phil Mauger attended the park’s reopening and experienced New Zealand’s longest zipline. “It was bloody marvellous,” he said.

The park was evacuated on 14 February after a large scrub fire broke out on Worsley Spur and grew to 650 hectares.

“These guys have moved heaven and earth to get this up and running, especially for this weekend and Easter coming up,” Mauger said.

And schools and volunteers had been on site planting natives at the park.

Boggy Pond, Lake Wairarapa

Rare bird returns to Wairarapa wetlands

Kaitiaki of a world-renowned wetland at the bottom of the North Island are excited about the return of a critically endangered bird, the matuku-hūrepo or Australasian Bittern.

Researchers listening for its distinctive booming call around the Wairarapa Moana wetlands say the population has doubled in the past decade – a sign of hope for the lake. Runoff from surrounding farms, pests and sedimentation are all threats to the habitat but it appears conservation efforts are working.

According to the news on Radio New Zealand

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