Sirocco appointed 'spokesbird' for conservation

Sirocco - a New Zealand kakapo29 Jan 2010 - New Zealand’s celebrity parrot, Sirocco the kākāpō, has been officially appointed as the world’s first "spokesbird for conservation". Sirocco shot to fame last year after his inappropriate actions during the BBC’s Last Chance to See series, and New Zealand Prime Minister John Key says the notorious and rare bird will be a perfect conservation ambassador. Sirocco - now 13-years-old - is one of just 124 kākāpō left in the world. The flightless species is endemic to New Zealand.

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NZ: New trail opens on Ed Hillary anniversary

The Hillary Trail - a new four day walking track on Auckland’s west coast honouring Sir Edmund Hillary - has been officially opened on the second anniversary of the New Zealand hero’s death. Members of the Hillary family were first to step out on the 70km trail which covers the lush rainforest of the Waitakere Ranges and rugged coastal paths of Auckland’s west coast beaches from Piha to Te Henga / Bethell’s.

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Down Under: Parramasala festival announced

Lake_ParramattaThe NSW Government has announced a new week-long Indian Festival in Parramatta called 'Parramasala' - The Australian Festival of South Asian Arts in Western Sydney. This festival follows the NSW Government’s plan to establish a round-table meeting of Ministers, agencies and Indian leaders to address the safety concerns of international students and the Indian community. Playing on the Hindi word masala, which means mix, Parramasala will be held in November during a highlight of the Indian calendar, Diwali, the Festival of Lights. The festival will showcase Indian art, music and film in Parramatta's streets and laneways.


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Nelson is New Zealand's sunshine capital

Nelson - in the north of New Zealand’s South Island - is reclaiming its title as the country’s sunniest spot having recorded more golden rays in 2009 than any other town. While not yet officially endorsed by the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (Niwa), the region is celebrating becoming New Zealand’s sunshine capital for 2009 having clocked up 2544.8 sunshine hours during the year.

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Urlaub in der Südsee muss kein Vermögen kosten

Aitutaki_Cook_Islands(lifepr) Kronberg/ Taunus, 04.01.2010 - Der Inselbewohner kennt 71 Götter und zwölf Himmel. Ein Besucher der Cook Islands ist dagegen schon mit einem Himmel auf Erden zufrieden: Denn wer auf Rarotonga gelandet ist, fühlt sich schnell heimisch. Blumenkränze werden um den Hals gelegt und verströmen einen Duft, wie er wohliger und exotischer nicht sein kann. Warme, saubere Luft umschmeichelt den Körper. Freundliche Menschen lachen einen allerorten an. Und Papa Jake begrüßt die Ankömmlinge am Flughafen mit einem Ständchen und "Raro Tonga e" - seit 20 Jahren schon.

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Māori music recognised in NZ awards

New Zealand’s second Māori Music Awards have produced some promising and high profile winners including Maisey Rika, the female vocalist who performed in New Zealand’s Giant Rugby Ball in Tokyo recently. Maisey, from Whakatane in the Bay of Plenty, won the 'Best Female Solo Artist' award for her album Tohu. She was also a finalist in the 'Best Māori Songwriter' category which was won by the well known New Zealand hip-hop / R&B group, 'Nesian Mystik'.


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