- : IT Professionals NZ
- : 08/12/2019
Smaller regional and rural schools from across New Zealand swept the National Finals for the Tahi Rua Toru Tech in-school challenge this year.
The 2019 National Winners were announced at a gala event at TSB Arena in Wellington, following 10 regional finals held across New Zealand in October. The National Finals were attended by the regional winning teams with students coming from around the country.
As part of the Tahi Rua Toru Tech Challenge, teams of 3-4 students find a problem in their local school or community and use digital technologies to solve it. Teams are paired up with tech industry mentors and given support and resources. Over 6500 students participated in the Challenge this year.
IT Professionals New Zealand CEO Paul Matthews said today that “Regional and Rural New Zealand were the winners this year, with winning teams coming from Hāwea Flat near Wanaka, Morrinsville, Rotorua and New Plymouth”.
At the Discovery level (years 0-5), Hāwea Flat School’s Team Happy Hawea took out the title, completing a set of challenges in the fastest time. It came down to split-seconds in the end and was hotly contested.
Morrinsville Intermediate’s Team Thunderbolts took out the First Challenge (years 6-8), creating an app game to encourage fitness by getting the user to move around Morrinsville to scan QR codes whilst seeing the ‘Herd of Cows’ (sculptures) on display within their town.
John Paul College, Rotorua’s Team ShumbaLeon won the Secondary level (years 9-10), created a website showcasing cultural diversity in their school and a platform for students to share their own stories and culture with other students.
And Sacred Heart Girls College, New Plymouth’s Team Red took out Senior Secondary (years 11-13), creating a medication box that sends bluetooth messages to your phone to remind you to take your medication, and has a motion sensor and lock and software designed to reduce under or overdosing.
The Ministry of Education’s Deputy Secretary for Early Learning and Student Achievement Ellen MacGregor-Reid helped announce the winners and was seriously impressed by the level of innovation. “A huge scale of learning has clearly gone on in the challenge. The majority of the students didn’t know how to write any code at the start – and yet that was such a stand-out feature of the innovations I’ve seen,” MacGregor-Reid said.
As part of the National Finals, the Digital Technologies Teachers Aotearoa (DTTA) and IT Professionals New Zealand recognised an influential teacher who has made a huge difference to digital tech. This year the Ali Chivers Teacher Influence Award went to Julie MacMahon from St Hilda’s Collegiate School in Dunedin.
“I’ve known Julie for several years, working with her on bringing about the changes to the Digital Technologies curriculum. She’s an inspiring and energetic teacher who contributes so much to her students and their profession,” Matthews said. “A very worthy choice.”
The Challenge will enter its third year in 2020 and is part of a suite of resources and tools to help teachers and schools implement changes to Digital Technologies and Hangarau Matihiko in the Curriculum in a safe and supported way.
About Tahi Rua Toru Tech
Partnering with the Ministry of Education, the IT industry is supporting the introduction of the new Digital Technologies & Hangarau Matihiko (DT&HM) curriculum into schools and Kura with the 123Tech Challenge.
In the challenge, small teams of 3-4 students complete a project-based challenge either in-class in schools, or through a local Code Club. Most will complete it as a classroom activity, but the model caters to both. The 123Tech Challenge is for everyone, not just tech geniuses (although they’re welcome too!). Schools are also partnered with an industry mentor, and the Challenge provides all the guidance and support students need to make a real difference.
Tahi Rua Toru Tech is being delivered by a partnership of not-for profit organisations led by IT Professionals NZ and started in its current form in 2018.
The National Finals were held on Thursday 5th December 2019.
To learn more about Tahi Rua Toru Tech visit https://123tech.nz
To learn more about Digital Tech/Hangarau Matihiko, http://education.govt.nz/digitech.
- : Paul Matthews
- : Chief Executive
- : email@example.com
- : 021705212
- : https://itp.nz
- https://www.facebook.com/123tech.nz/ | https://twitter.com/123tech_nz | https://www.instagram.com/123tech.nz/
- : plastic2parliament
- : 28/11/2019
This week the Government announced a long awaited and welcome proposal to increase the landfill levy in order to encourage behaviour change away from dumping to more recovery, recycling and reuse. However, the increased levy will have no effect on the volumes of plastic waste entering the economy, our landfills and the environment, according to plastic2parliament.
“Currently plastics account for around 8% of total waste by weight, but as much as 20% of landfill by volume and that’s an enormous proportion of the waste problem.” said Wade Bishop, initiator of the plastic2parliament letter writing initiative. (Ref. Recycle.co.nz)
“With the landfill levy based on weight there’s no incentive in this to move away from plastic packaging or other avoidable plastics that end up in our landfills and environment.” Wade Bishop said.
Plastic2parliament is encouraging New Zealanders to ask all political parties what their plastic reduction policies are by penning letters to MPs in Parliament, via the Parliamentary free-post address while also stuffing their large envelopes full of non-recyclable plastics to illustrate the plastic waste problem.
“We are asking political parties and Government to focus regulation on the producers of plastic packaging targeted at simply making less of it.” said Bishop.
The global oil industry is currently investing US$180 billion in new plastic production plants to increase production by 40% in the next 10 years. This immense supply-pressure will create a further explosion in plastic volumes here in New Zealand and the increased landfill levy will have zero effect on that. This is an over-production issue that needs urgent regulation where the problem starts: the producers.” he said.
The Plastic2parliament initiative believes that an immediate impact can be made on plastic waste by extending bans across wide categories of avoidable single-use plastics, such as cutlery, dishes, cups, takeaway containers and even bubble and pallet wraps.
The initiative also advocates a Plastic Tax on imported virgin plastics used to manufacture single-use packaging and on imported new plastic packaging.
“While the landfill levy will have a negligible effect on the cost of dumping plastic packaging for New Zealanders, it still gets under your skin having to pay even more to get rid of a toxic waste that you didn’t ask for in the first place.” Wade Bishop said.
Plastic2parliament continues to grow quickly with membership numbers of the Facebook Group reaching more than 1000 people sending more than 720 letters and plastic parcels to MPs since beginning in early October this year, including another 90 to Minister for the Environment, David Parker, this week.
Plastic2parliament is a letter-writing initiative started by Wade Bishop of Christchurch which encourages New Zealanders concerned about single-use plastics to include these products with their letters to M.P.s using the Parliamentary Free-post address. The purpose of the initiative is to creatively emphasise how these non-recyclable products cannot be avoided by consumers and that the actual cause of plastic waste is over-production and use by manufacturers. We seek to have M.P.s advocate for meaningful plastic waste reduction policy within their respective Party focused on packaging producers.
Oil companies are investing US$180 billion right now to increase virgin plastic production by 40% before 2030. This enormous supply pressure has already created an explosion in single-use packaging globally. New Zealand will not be immune to these supply pressures and is poorly placed to deal with the waste volumes that will eventuate. (Ref. theguardian.com; and sciencemag.org)
- plastic2parliament_mailing David Parker
- : Wade Bishop
- : Initiator
- : firstname.lastname@example.org
- : 021432045
- : https://www.facebook.com/groups/plastic2parliament
- Twitter: @plastic2parlia1 | Facebook: @plastic2parliament
- : Lyfords Pension Transfer
- : 10/10/2019
The on-going Brexit negotiations and subsequent demise of the UK exchange rate have left many British expatriots who have moved to New Zealand wondering what to do about their UK pensions.
Should they wait for a more favourable exchange rate, or bite the bullet and transfer their pensions now – knowing that it could get far worse before it improves?
Alison Renfrew, pension transfer specialist at Lyford Investment Management, has been advising British expatriots for 17 years on their options for transferring their pensions. She recommends that with some exceptions, transferring now is probably the better option.
“Firstly, if you’re worried about the exchange rate, you can keep your funds invested in GBP and convert them into NZD years in the future,” says Renfrew.
“More importantly though; pension transfer values seem to be really high at the moment.
“I advised a client earlier this month that her transfer value had increased by 25% in just six months. She now has another £145,168 ($281,776NZD) to transfer. This is phenomenal”.
Renfrew has not seen such a dramatic positive change in transfer values before.
On the very same day, Renfrew had a conversation with another client about her pension transfer value. She was offered a Cash Equivalent Transfer Value (CETV) of £59,731, or a pension of £900 p.a.
You would have to receive £900 p.a. for 66 years before you broke even – before you saw any investment returns from your retirement savings.
“It is 100% illogical to accept such a lousy deal,” Renfrew says.
When Renfrew compared current CETVs with promised pensions, she found little incentive to choose to have a taxable pension paid from the UK compared to receiving a far higher non-taxable income in New Zealand based on realistic investment projections.
“What Brits really don’t like is knowing that if they die prematurely their spouse will only get half of the income. In some cases, the spouse gets nothing”.
A major benefit of taking control and investing your transfer value to provide you with a retirement income is that you can access your money if you need to. Conversely, there’s no access to your retirement pot if you’ve elected to take a pension.
“Where is your financial security if you can’t access your money in an emergency?” Renfrew asks.
There are a couple of exceptions, of course.
Renfrew cautions Brits and returning Kiwis not to transfer their pension funds if they are uncertain where they’ll live for the five years after they have transferred their pension funds to NZ, due to tax obligations.
Renfrew further cautions that before deciding to transfer you need professional advice to ensure that all your options have been considered.
“Maybe you are one of the few who have a very attractive pension, and converting to cash would be madness.
“You really need to seek independent advice from a New Zealand investment adviser specialising in pension transfers before making the decision to transfer, because individuals simply don’t have access to the same resources advisers do. It’s important to make informed choices.”
Alison and Richard Renfrew of Lyfords have been specialising in UK to New Zealand pension transfers for over 17 years. Visit their website to find out more.
- photo of the london eye
- : Alison Renfrew
- : Certified Financial Adviser
- : email@example.com
- : 0800459367
- : https://uk-pension-transfer.co.nz/
- https://www.facebook.com/Lyfordsukpensiontransfers/ |
- : VARIDESK New Zealand
- : 02/10/2019
Varidesk, a popular international brand that has been making inroads into the New Zealand market, is looking to change the traditional Kiwi office working environment with its innovative standing desks.
These desks allow for an easy transition between sitting and standing when working and feature desk converters that can even transform a normal desk into a sit-stand desk.
Varidesk NZ Director Dave Roberts says having a working environment that involves intermittent periods of sitting and standing can dramatically improve employees’ productivity, happiness and overall well-being.
“We are delighted to bring to market an exciting desk alternative, which will improve the work life of employees and home workers alike,” says Roberts.
“Companies are finding it harder than ever to recruit and retain talented employees. Creating an active workspace that thrives off employee energy and happiness is now integral to attracting the talent you need to grow your business.”
Varidesk standing desks are being used by organisations such as Sanitarium, PowerCo, and Victoria University – and for good reason, says Roberts.
“Recent studies have shown using a height-adjustable desk improves mood and boosts energy levels along with health improvements such as reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, cancer and heart disease,” he says.
Roberts notes that when people first start using a Varidesk they usually notice within a few days that their back and neck pains are either significantly reduced or dissipate completely. Notable improvements also include energy and focus.
“Since using the VariDesk, I’ve had fewer issues with back pain and am finding my posture improving each day incrementally. I’ve also noticed my attention drifting far less and I’m managing to stay focused for longer stretches during the day,” says Dan Grayson, Editor in Chief of Gameplanet.
All Varidesk products are high quality and easy to set up – there’s no flat-pack assembly, and you can be ready to work within minutes.
“It’s now easier than ever to transform your office into a happy, healthy and productive workspace without compromising on quality,” says Roberts.
- varidesk fitout
- : https://vimeo.com/245661801
- : David Roberts
- : Director
- : firstname.lastname@example.org
- : 072828994
- : https://varidesk.co.nz
- https://www.facebook.com/VarideskNZ/ | https://www.linkedin.com/company/varidesk-nz/?originalSubdomain=nz |
- : WISPA.NZ
- : 02/08/2019
Despite the hype surrounding Vodafone’s launch of the next cellphone technology, it risks a serious downside to thousands of rural broadband users, according to the Wireless Internet Service Providers Association (WISPA.NZ).
“Vodafone and its competitors are putting huge pressure on Government to reallocate radio spectrum so they can run 5G more cost-effectively,” WISPA Chairman Mike Smith says.
“However, some of the spectrum the mobile companies are trying to claim is already used commercially by about 30 regional WISPs, who collectively service many tens of thousands of rural customers. These customers are farms who use the Internet for business management, rural kids who use it for study, and rural people who depend on it for social inclusion. Most cant get Internet any other way.
“If the government responds to the cellphone companies’ land grab, some of those users could face more expensive Internet or even lose their hard-won connectivity altogether.
“The advantages of 5G are very much in the future. By contrast, WISPs are solving the connectivity issue for rural New Zealand here and now.
“It makes no sense to slow or reverse the progress made in connecting our major export sector, just so that some online games will work a nanosecond faster or city people can connect their home air conditioning to their car GPS. The benefits of 5G are marginal and futuristic, but basic connectivity for rural families and businesses is here, now, and economically essential.
“WISPA seeks a clear assurance from Minister Faafoi that no decision will be made to reallocate spectrum until the issues have been thoroughly aired in public.”
Contact: Mike Smith 0274503504 email@example.com
Alternative: Ernie Newman 0223764363 firstname.lastname@example.org
- : Mike Smith
- : Chairman
- : email@example.com
- : 0274503503
- : https://wispa.nz
- : NewzEngine.com
- : 03/07/2019
NewzEngine.com, an online service that enables companies, organisations and individuals to write and distribute media releases, has been launched today.
The subscriber-based service provides an easy way for NewzEngine’s customers to create regular, cost-effective, and professional communications about their activities, products and services.
Media releases are created through NewzEngine’s platform, then quality-checked by experienced editors, distributed to a network of journalists/editors, and listed by global information aggregators.
NewzEngine is created by Newztec Developments Ltd directors Selwyn Manning and Sarah Putt, who between them have over 40 years media and communications’ experience. Manning’s career includes roles as a journalist, editor, New Zealand Government press secretary, and news media specialist. Putt has worked as a journalist, public relations specialist and technology commentator.
Manning says: “Organisations and companies require a public profile to grow. Their voice is a valuable complement to the national debate. But reliable media relations support is often expensive and beyond the reach of many.”
“We have launched NewzEngine to help organisations pitch their news to targeted media, and, through syndication and aggregation, supercharge their message so it can reach an audience wider than they thought possible.”
To ensure their message reaches the desired audience, subscribers can select the geographical location and/or sector where they want their media announcement to be delivered within New Zealand.
NewzEngine’s online service includes a guide to writing media announcements, as well as media release templates. This ensures subscribers can create an effective and professional release. In addition to text-based releases, NewzEngine provides the ability for subscribers to upload photographs and video links to accompany their message.
Putt says: “Effective announcements are short, sharp and compelling. Our guide is designed to help subscribers inform professional media practitioners about their organisation’s new product, service, event or milestone achievement.”
“But when required, NewzEngine also provides a writing and media relations service,” Putt says.
Organisations can subscribe to NewzEngine as a monthly or annual service, starting from $70 per month. For more details, visit NewzEngine.com.
- : Sarah Putt
- : NewzEngine CEO
- : firstname.lastname@example.org
- : 0276177235
- : https://NewzEngine.com