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New walkway opens at Auckland Airport
New walkway opens at Auckland Airport

19 June 2024, 12:09 AM

Auckland Airport, in partnership with the Department of Conservation (DOC), has unveiled a new version of the inter-terminal walkway, known as "the green line". This pathway showcases some of Aotearoa New Zealand's most breathtaking walks and scenic locations.The new 950-meter walkway, which connects the international and domestic terminals, features giant panoramic photos celebrating 36 different DOC tracks. These include multi-day walks like the Abel Tasman and Paparoa Track, as well as single-day hikes such as the Rangitoto Summit Track and the Kauaeranga Kauri Trail.Chloe Surridge, Auckland Airport’s Chief Operations Officer, expressed enthusiasm for the project. "As New Zealand’s gateway airport, we’re delighted to shine a spotlight on our country’s stunning landscape and all the amazing places people can choose to visit," she said. "We wanted to give travellers a taste of the unique walks New Zealand has to offer and all the wonderful work DOC does to open up the outdoors to visitors."The new walkway is part of ongoing construction for Auckland Airport’s integrated terminal development. It is designed to provide improved shade and shelter, with 72% of the walkway now undercover. The route is approximately 150 meters longer than the previous walkway, adding two to four minutes to the journey, depending on walking speed. Additional rest areas and pōhutukawa trees enhance the walking experience.DOC Deputy Director-General Public Affairs, Sia Aston, emphasised the importance of connecting people with nature. “Our unique environment is a drawcard both for international tourists and New Zealanders. We hope visitors will be blown away by the beautiful options on display, then get out and enjoy them for real,” Aston said.For those who prefer not to walk, a free terminal transfer bus operates every 15 minutes between 5 am and 11 pm, providing an alternative means of transport.

Hihi return to Shakespear Regional Park
Hihi return to Shakespear Regional Park

18 June 2024, 8:39 PM

Coasties and visitors to Shakespear Regional Park may have the unique opportunity to spot the rare hihi (stitchbird) this summer. Forty hihi, one of New Zealand’s rarest forest birds, have been translocated from Tiritiri Matangi Island to the open sanctuary at the regional park, which is a pest-free haven for threatened native species.The hihi are known for their curiosity, often approaching people. Auckland Council Senior Ranger Open Sanctuary Matt Maitland advises birdwatchers to look for a small, fantail-sized bird with a white wing bar and a high-pitched whistle. Males are especially distinctive with their black heads and yellow neck markings.The translocation effort was a collaborative project involving Auckland Council, the Shakespear Open Sanctuary Society (SOSSI), and Ngāti Manuhiri Settlement Trust, with support from the Hihi Conservation Charitable Trust, the Department of Conservation Hihi Recovery Group, and Supporters of Tiritiri Matangi.In the late 1880s, hihi lived in multiple forest locations across the North Island, but the only naturally surviving population today is on Te Hauturu-o-Toi / Little Barrier Island. Since 2004, a recovery plan led by the Department of Conservation has established seven populations on predator-free islands and protected sanctuaries. Despite this, hihi recovery remains uncertain, and adaptive management is essential for ongoing success."The project aims to establish the eighth secure hihi population in New Zealand," said Maitland. "The open sanctuary has the necessary factors for this translocation to succeed, and we hope this project will significantly contribute to hihi conservation."A male hihi (left) and female bird. Photos/ Janice McKennaShakespear Regional Park already hosts many native birds, including korimako (bellbird), kākāriki (red-crowned parakeet), kererū (pigeon), ruru (morepork), kotare (kingfisher), pīwakawaka (fantail), tauhou (silvereye), and tui. Maitland hopes the hihi will thrive alongside other successfully translocated species like the kiwi pukupuku (little spotted kiwi), popokatea (whitehead), toutouwai (robin), and tīeke (North Island saddleback). Each hihi will be closely monitored throughout winter to ensure they are well fed with supplementary nectar and have access to safe nesting boxes.Councillor Richard Hills praised the dedication of rangers, external partners, and the local community for maintaining the sanctuary’s effectiveness through pest control, monitoring, and habitat restoration. "This network of passionate conservationists has consistently achieved zero predator control targets since a pest-proof fence was built in 2010. They are truly committed to protecting and conserving the precious biodiversity in this wildlife reserve that we are so lucky to have on our doorstep," he said.All hihi whakapapa to Hauturu o Toi and are considered taonga to Ngāti Manuhiri, the iwi with ancestral connections to Hauturu, Tiritiri Matangi, and Shakespear. Ngāti Manuhiri Settlement Trust spokesperson Delma O’Kane acknowledged the dedication of all involved in this conservation effort. "It is through their unwavering commitment to pest control, monitoring, and habitat restoration that Shakespear Regional Park continues to thrive as a sanctuary for our native flora and fauna," she said.

Eden Park sells out for Blues v Chiefs Super Rugby Pacific final
Eden Park sells out for Blues v Chiefs Super Rugby Pacific final

18 June 2024, 8:03 PM

It only took a few hours, but the full house signs are up at Eden Park for Saturday night's Super Rugby Pacific final.The Blues and Chiefs will play in front of 47,000 people at the country's largest stadium, with tickets going on sale at 9am Tuesday morning and being snapped up by midday.Veteran Blues prop Angus Ta'avao is fizzing at the prospect of playing a final in front of such a big crowd."A final at Eden Park, mate. Blues against the Chiefs. What more could you ask for, It's going to be awesome," said Ta'avao, who spent six seasons down the road in Hamilton with the Chiefs between 2018-23.He is the most experienced current player to have spent time at both teams, who have an otherwise heated rivalry."I've been real present, being in this moment," he said, reflecting on his season so far."But I know being down there, how they feel about this, it's a massive, massive battle. It's all about heading up State Highway 1 and the physical battle up front. They always have the skilful backs … it always comes down to the wire."The Blues and Chiefs met only three weeks ago in the final regular season game of the season, which ended in a 31-17 win for the Blues. At the time the lost bonus point looked to have cost the Blues a potential home final, however the Chiefs' subsequent semi-final win over the Hurricanes on Saturday meant the final would be played at Eden Park for the second time in three years.Ta'avao played in the Chiefs side that lost to the Crusaders last year in Hamilton, a heart-breaking result after they had won every game that season to that point."I know last year, after losing to the Crusaders in that final, the boys will be looking for redemption. Clayton (McMillan) has already been talking about, you know, making their own story about being able to win away from home and to make a change and win a championship," Ta'avao said.It will be a family affair for the 34-year-old, whose career has taken him for a stint at the Waratahs as well as playing 22 tests for the All Blacks. Ta'avao and Anton Lienert-Brown's fathers are good friends and said the two would meet up before attending the game on Saturday night. He will also be up against a fair few of his old teammates when he takes the field."I know a lot of them. Quinn Tupaea, we went through the rehab process last year. I mean like six years - even though some of the boys that I played with have left, there's a lot of familiar faces. Obviously after the game a few weeks ago, I had a good chat, chat and catch up with them."This will easily be the biggest Super Rugby Pacific crowd of the year, with the only other sold-out game in New Zealand being the Chiefs and Hurricanes regular season match in Hamilton.The Chiefs are currently sweating on an injury crisis at hooker, with third string Tyrone Thompson set to be named in the starting team on Wednesday evening. Meanwhile the Blues will likely be unchanged from the side that comfortably beat the Brumbies in their semi-final on Friday night.

Reduction in social media use at gym needed to help cut obesity levels - Expert
Reduction in social media use at gym needed to help cut obesity levels - Expert

18 June 2024, 6:51 PM

A health and fitness expert who has made millions of dollars from his online programme is urging Kiwis to limit their screen use while working out, in a bid to combat NZ’s growing rates of obesity.The call comes ahead of the winter season, which research shows is the second most high-risk time of the year for weight gain for those living in the Southern Hemisphere, behind Christmas.The $82 million online fitness programme, 28 by Sam Wood, created by celebrity personal trainer and former star of The Bachelor Australia, Sam Wood, has grown to be the largest of its kind - used by almost a million New Zealanders and Australians to date.Wood says using social media while in between sets at the gym, also known as ‘gym scrolling’, can add as much as 20% to 30% to the total workout time and the reduction in exercise intensity could be enough to derail weight loss goals.He says research has also shown that just half an hour of social media use prior to exercise creates mental fatigue which leads to decreases in the amount of repetitions.Wood says these research insights align with what he has witnessed after more than 50,000 personal training sessions over 15 years with his clients.He says to maximise results in the gym the average person needs to have a 60-second to two-minute rest between sets.“I see people go down a rabbit hole on their phones for much longer than that,” he says.Wood says it may be time for gyms to intervene when members are spending excessive time on gym equipment and inconveniencing others while they scroll on social media.“As well as disrupting fellow gym-goers, ultimately they are sabotaging their success and they need to determine what their goals are and what they are prepared to sacrifice to achieve them.“What I notice is it isn’t just young people on social media who let it interrupt their exercise routine, I see older clients doing the same thing, I’m even guilty of it myself on occasion. I think I’ll just clear this one email and before you know it, I’m ten minutes in…“For those who lack discipline, in-person classes with an instructor, or online sessions involving a structured programme can make it harder for someone to pick up their phone midway through a workout.“I’ve got four kids and I know that technology can be your best friend and your worst enemy and if you do not have the control and discipline to use it in your favour then you are better off steering clear of it,” he says. New on-the-go protein snack line, 28GO.In addition to ‘gym scrolling’ Wood says there are several other common mistakes people make when it comes to their fitness routine.“The best results come from consistent short(ish) workouts, so adding scroll time to your sessions won’t help in the long run.“The more you try and jam everything into a week or two the less success you will have. People need to discover there is no wrong way or right way to get into shape, but rather finding the thing that works most for them so they can commit to it and carry it out in a sustainable manner,” he says.Wood says around 70% of physical change is achieved through managing nutritional intake and this becomes even more critical during the winter season.He says the key to success is adapting your exercise programme to the winter months to ensure you are moving your body regularly.“You can’t out-train a poor diet. I often see people who have been disciplined all week with their eating and exercise, only to undo all of their results over a weekend. We need to constantly be asking ourselves how our choices are impacting our results especially when it comes to food and alcohol.“In winter we need to be more mindful of what type of comfort foods we are putting in our mouth. Your body doesn’t discriminate because it's a different season, calories in, are calories in and what’s not used will be stored as fat.“If the weather is bad and you can’t make it to the gym do something at home online, maybe hire or buy an exercise bike and cycle while you watch your favourite TV show or walk in your lunch hour rather than early morning so it's not as cold.“Even in the cooler months, I will try and work out for 30 to 40 minutes a day for 4-5 days a week. I will also try and get incidental exercise in whenever I can including; taking work calls while out walking, bike riding with my girls and walking the dog,” he says.Wood who has trained more than 940,000 women in Australia and New Zealand via his online programme says they still have the misconception that protein and resistance training will make them bulky.He says the volume of questions on nutrition and snacking he received from women, led him to create a supplement range, 28GO, that is now being launched in New Zealand. “The one message that I have worked hard on with them than any other is that they need to do more strength training and to increase their protein intake, nothing gets better results for females than adopting these two principals,” he says.When it comes to his own fitness and nutrition routine Wood says he tries to keep it simple, adding protein to every meal and often having a late breakfast as a form of intermittent fasting.Wood says there has been an increase in education around gut health and its impact on physical and mental well-being and he now advocates for having a daily source of probiotics, collagen and protein.

BuildNZ addresses construction industry challenges
BuildNZ addresses construction industry challenges

17 June 2024, 9:44 PM

Coasties and locals involved in the construction industry are set to gather at BuildNZ 2024, held June 25-26 at Auckland Showgrounds, to discuss the sector's pressing challenges and opportunities.BuildNZ, the largest industry-specific event in Aotearoa, brings together top names from New Zealand and around the globe.This year's event will tackle high interest rates, inflationary pressures, and the cost-of-living crisis, which are impacting the construction sector.A critical shortage of skilled workers and upcoming government changes also pose significant hurdles.The event will feature an accredited keynote speaker series, offering 35 NZRAB CPD pre-approved points, and insights from industry leaders at the BCI Central stage.These sessions will address market challenges, emerging technologies, and key business priorities for the year ahead.A panel discussion moderated by the German New Zealand Chamber of Commerce will explore the new EU-NZ Free Trade Agreement's implications for New Zealand's construction sector.This discussion will feature EU representatives, legal experts, and government officials.Beyond expert-led content, BuildNZ provides an opportunity for attendees to connect with over 200 local and international suppliers and see the latest products and technologies firsthand.As the industry continues to grapple with ongoing change, collaboration remains key.With the backing of leading industry associations and event partners, BuildNZ provides an unparalleled platform for those involved in designing, constructing, and managing New Zealand's built environment.BuildNZ has a long history in New Zealand, serving as the leading trade event for the Building, Construction, Design, and Architecture Industries.It continues to be a vital forum for professionals to share ideas, showcase innovations, and build business relationships.

Buy-now-pay-later platform Laybuy in receivership
Buy-now-pay-later platform Laybuy in receivership

17 June 2024, 7:27 PM

Buy-now-pay-later service Laybuy has been placed into receivership.Founder Gary Rohloff said the economic downturn had been more drawn-out than expected and had hurt the business."I am absolutely heartbroken at today's decision to request the appointment of receivers to the Laybuy Group," he said in a statement."This is a devastating time for the Laybuy team, and I will be doing everything I can to support them as we go through this process."He said the business had been working "incredibly" hard to execute a plan to achieve profitability after years of rapid growth."While we have been making good progress over the last two years, the economic downturn has been longer than we expected, and this had had a significant impact on the retail sector in both New Zealand and the United Kingdom."As a result, we have see reduced consumer spending, higher credit losses, and increased fraudulent activity. This alongside increased financing costs created a perfect storm that was difficult to recover from."He said the business had tried "everything" including an attempted sale, but this had fallen over at the last hurdle."This left the board with no option but to make the gut-wrenching decision to voluntarily request the appointment of Deloitte as receivers.This is a difficult time for our team and I am devastated."He said his priority was to work with receivers to ensure the best outcome for staff, creditors, suppliers and merchantsCustomers could continue to make their payments as normal.The company listed in the Australian stock exchange in 2020 and shares traded as high as A$2.30.But they had dropped to A0.6c before a decision was made last year to delist.

New brain metric aids dementia research
New brain metric aids dementia research

17 June 2024, 6:02 PM

Researchers at the Auckland Bioengineering Institute and the Mātai Institute have developed a new metric for measuring blood circulation in the brain, potentially advancing the understanding of dementia and other neurological conditions.The metric, published in the journal Scientific Reports Nature, was developed by a team led by Sergio Dempsey. It uses 4D flow MRI technology to provide a comprehensive measure of small vessel pulsatility risk, crucial for conditions like Alzheimer’s disease. This innovation allows for the detailed assessment of brain vascular health by measuring how blood pulsatility is transmitted through brain vessels."Our method allows for a detailed assessment of the brain’s vascular health, which is often compromised in neurodegenerative disorders," said Dempsey.Traditional MRI methods face limitations due to anatomical variations and measurement constraints, but this new technique integrates thousands of measurements across all brain vessels. This results in a richer, more representative metric of the entire brain."The ability to measure how pulsatility is transmitted through the brain’s arteries could revolutionise our approach to neurological diseases, and support research in vascular damage hypotheses," Dempsey added.The research team at the Mātai scanner in Tairāwhiti, from left, Wright (Mātai), Taylor Emsden (Mātai), Sergio Dempsey (ABI), lead author, Chiara Colombo (visiting student, University of Trento, Italy), Paul Condron (Mātai), and Haribalan Kumar (Mātai/ABI/GE Healthcare).The study also highlights the potential for enhanced clinical assessments and research on brain health. Incorporating this metric into diagnostic procedures could lead to more precise and personalised care plans for individuals at risk of cognitive impairments.The research tools have been made publicly available, integrating them into open-source software to foster further research and collaboration worldwide."Our findings are a promising step towards better understanding the vascular contributions to neurodegeneration," said Associate Professor Samantha Holdsworth, Mātai Director of Research. "We’re excited about the metric's potential to become a standard part of neurological assessments and the positive impact it could have on millions of lives."The research team plans further studies to explore the applications of this technique in larger and more diverse populations, starting with the 'Digital Twin Dementia Study' at Mātai later this month. They also plan a new study focusing on sex-related dynamics in vascular health, set to begin at Mātai and the Centre for Advanced MRI in November.

Volunteers recognised for safeguarding New Zealand’s fisheries
Volunteers recognised for safeguarding New Zealand’s fisheries

17 June 2024, 4:07 AM

Across New Zealand, volunteers are celebrated during National Volunteer Week for their invaluable contributions to safeguarding local fisheries. Among them are Honorary Fishery Officers (HFOs), whose dedication plays a crucial role in ensuring sustainable fishing practices for future generations.Introduced in Auckland in 1967, HFOs now number approximately 200 nationwide, offering guidance, education, and vigilance in support of marine conservation efforts. Steve Ham, Director of Fisheries Compliance at Fisheries New Zealand, emphasises their integral role: "Nearly 60 years later there are about 200 HFOs working in communities around the country providing advice, conversation, and a watchful eye in the name of sustainability."These volunteers commit a minimum of 100 hours annually to patrolling recreational fishing areas, undergoing rigorous training and operating under the authority of the Fisheries Act. Ham underscores their impact, stating, "Their work is critical to ensuring sustainability throughout all our fisheries. HFOs are front and centre on New Zealand's coastlines, conducting between 18,000 and 22,500 inspections each year. They do around 40% of the recreational compliance work."Volunteers come from diverse backgrounds, united by a passion for preserving New Zealand's marine resources. Ham encourages recognition of their efforts: "If you see them out on the water or at the wharf, tell them how much you appreciate them." He also advises recreational fishers to stay informed by using the NZ Fishing Rules mobile app, which provides essential guidelines for fishing responsibly.As National Volunteer Week highlights their commitment, HFOs stand as exemplars of community spirit and environmental stewardship, embodying the ethos of giving back to ensure a sustainable future for all.NZ fishing rules app

Auckland to end regional fuel tax
Auckland to end regional fuel tax

16 June 2024, 11:59 PM

Aucklanders will soon see relief at the pump as the regional fuel tax is set to end on June 30. The tax, which added an extra 11.5 cents per litre, was introduced in 2018 to fund transport projects.Transport Minister Simeon Brown announced the decision back in February, highlighting the financial strain the tax has placed on residents. “Since 1 July 2018, Aucklanders have faced an additional 11.5 cents per litre tax on fuel, over and above what the rest of the country pays, increasing the cost of living at a time when they can least afford it. Ending this tax is one way to reduce the price of fuel and ease some of the financial pressure facing households in our largest city.”Brown noted that removing the tax means the driver of a Toyota Hilux will save approximately $9.20 per fill-up, while a Toyota Corolla driver will save around $5.75. “Fuel tax is becoming an increasingly regressive form of taxation and costs people on lower incomes with less fuel-efficient vehicles more than those who have newer more fuel-efficient vehicles. We intend to fully remove the legislative framework for regional fuel taxes,” he added.Since its implementation, the regional fuel tax has generated around $780 million, with approximately $341 million still unspent. The remaining funds, which amount to more than two years’ worth of revenue, have been a point of contention among Aucklanders.The decision to end the tax addresses public concerns about rising living costs. However, there are criticisms regarding the potential impact on future transport funding. While supporters believe the tax cut will provide much-needed economic relief, detractors worry about the long-term implications for Auckland's transport infrastructure.As the end date approaches, Coasties can prepare for the financial reprieve, weighing the immediate benefits against the potential future costs to the city's transportation projects.

No sign of property prices going up: What is happening with the NZ housing market this week?
No sign of property prices going up: What is happening with the NZ housing market this week?

16 June 2024, 8:26 PM

Analysis - Households with mortgages can expect at least six more months without talk of interest rate cuts, as a subdued housing market refuses to spring back. Here's what moved real estate this week.Households can expect at least another six months of being squeezed by high interest rates and poor economic conditions.A Kiwibank survey showed nearly one in three respondents could not cover a $500 unexpected bill without borrowing, selling something or using a credit card. People were also struggling to save and budget.Kiwibank chief executive Steve Jurkovich said he saw no relief in sight for stressed and stretched households."I don't see us at the end yet, I see it closer to the end than the start."We have at least the end of 2024 and probably into 2025 before we see any meaningful interest rate cuts."When you look at inflation ... and some of the costs that are pretty stubborn, we've got a pretty tough time and headwind ahead of us for the next six months at least."House prices are fallingCoreLogic chief property economist Kelvin Davidson said high interest rates and a weaker labour market were putting the brakes on the market.House values continue to fall with some main centres seeing an increase in the rate of decline.The latest QV House Price Index shows home values fell by a national average of 0.2 percent over the three months to the end of May.The average house value sits at $923,713, which is up 3.9 percent on the year earlier.Auckland led the market down with a 1.4 percent drop in quarterly values for the fourth month in a row.QV operations manager James Wilson said the market would remain under pressure as long as interest rates remained high."The housing market has largely stalled, and now the seasonal slowdown is well and truly upon us, with both buyers and sellers continuing to grapple with difficult economic conditions," Wilson said."So those who are in a position to buy right now, have the upper hand. Purchasers are spoilt for choice and appear to have time on their side, with nothing to suggest that house prices are going to take off again soon."Similarly, CoreLogic's quarterly dissection of suburban prices showed 221 suburbs of the 938 analysed had a drop of at least 1 percent for the June quarter, with 10 falling by 5 percent or more.Prices were falling in a number of places - spread across affluent and cheaper areas.Tax cuts, and lending rule changes - looser LVR (loan to value ratios) and the introduction of DTI (debt to income) limits - were unlikely to shift the "subdued" housing market this year, Davidson said.Suburban prices in Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga, and Wellington were showing the biggest slowdowns, while Christchurch and Dunedin were less pronounced.And just as tax cuts take effect on 1 July, homeowners around the country are bracing for some of the biggest rates hikes yet.At the top of the list are West Coast Regional Council with a proposed rise of 27 percent and Hastings District Council at 25 percent. Wellingtonians are looking at about 17 percent, while 16.5 percent is proposed for Hamilton.Auckland households face a modest rise of about 6.8 percent. These numbers may change as councils finalise long-term plans.Losing equityNew housing data shows thousands of first-home buyers are losing equity - their properties are worth less than what they paid for them.More than 8500 first homes bought between October 2021 and March 2022 had dropped in value, CoreLogic figures showedMore than 2000 have dropped by more than 20 percent, suggesting any equity homeowners had in the deal would probably have been wiped out.Of those that are worth less than they were purchased for, 42 percent are in Auckland, and 10.8 percent in Wellington.However, CoreLogic head of research Nick Goodall said it should not be a problem for buyers to have lost money on their homes unless there was a change in their circumstances.Most people would have bought with the intention to hold for a longer-term, he said.But while prices had lifted off the bottom, the momentum seen building in the housing market during the latter part of 2023 had petered away, Goodall said.Building cost inflationChanges making it simpler and cheaper to build, and easier to import products are unlikely to have much impact on construction costs in the short term.The average cost of building a standard three-bedroom house in the main centres grew at an annual rate of 1.8 percent, back to pre-pandemic levels, according to the latest QV CostBuilder report. That's still its lowest level in more than four years.The annual rate to the end of December last year was 4.9 percent and hit a high of nearly 21 percent in 2022.It showed some material prices falling, and a slowing housing market forcing builders to cut margins.QV CostBuilder spokesperson Simon Petersen said new house builders would need to wait a little longer."Long-term we suspect it will have a material effect on construction costs."It will take time to implement these changes, nothing moves fast in government. It's certainly calls for optimism."

Kiwi women urged to learn symptoms of ovarian cancer
Kiwi women urged to learn symptoms of ovarian cancer

16 June 2024, 7:36 PM

Kiwi women are being urged by a gynaecological cancer foundation (Talk Peach) to learn to recognise the symptoms of ovarian cancer with rates in NZ expected to grow 29% by 2035, according to WHO data.Wahine Maori and Pacific women are generally at higher risk of ovarian cancer compared to those of the European/Other ethnic groups. Notably, Samoa and Fiji have the world’s highest rates of mortality from this disease.The call comes as a newly funded medicine, Zejula (Niraparib), becomes available to dozens of Kiwi women living with advanced ovarian cancer, which may offer significantly more time without their cancer recurring after chemotherapy.Research shows around 70% of women with advanced ovarian cancer will relapse after initial treatment, however while not a cure, Zejula may reduce the likelihood of death or the disease progressing by up to 38% - when compared to patients who were administered a placebo during a trial.According to Ministry of Health data, ovarian cancer is the sixth most common cause of cancer death for New Zealand women. Every 48 hours approximately one Kiwi woman is diagnosed with ovarian cancer and one also dies from this form of the disease during this time.Data from the World Health Organisation shows the incidence of the disease in New Zealand is projected to grow 29% by 2035.The risk from the disease is highest for Maori and Pacific peoples, with mortality rates around a third higher for these ethnicities, when compared to the European/Other ethnic groups.Unfortunately, as the early-stage disease is usually asymptomatic and symptoms of late-stage disease are nonspecific, a large proportion of women are diagnosed when ovarian cancer is well advanced.Symptoms of the disease may include having a bloated abdomen, always feeling full, discomfort, pressure, or pain in the abdomen or pelvic area, change in bowel habits, fatigue, kidney or bladder problems, abnormal vaginal bleeding or weight changes for no reason.This newly publicly funded treatment option, which has been registered under the name Zejula, is available to women with advanced epithelial ovarian, fallopian tube or primary peritoneal cancer, when the disease has responded to platinum-based chemotherapy.Zejula, which is a poly ADP-ribose polymerase (PARP) inhibitor, is administered to block the repair of damaged DNA in the cancer cell after chemotherapy, resulting in tumour cell death, and helping to maintain the benefit from chemotherapy.Tash Crosby, ovarian cancer survivor and founder of Talk Peach Gynaecological Cancer Foundation says early detection of ovarian cancer is vital.Tash Crosby.She says it's important that women are proactive about their health and visit the doctor with any concerns about symptoms of the disease.“The majority of women with ovarian cancer are diagnosed at the later stages of the disease and treatment options become more limited.“With early detection and the statistics for survival change quite drastically between each stage - catching the disease in the initial stages could have a significant impact on life longevity.“In the past, there was a bit of a stigma attached to anything ‘gynae’ and it was often referred to as ‘stomach issues’ by some women. We need to make sure we are having open and frank conversations because they have the potential to save lives.“It is also important to understand the symptoms and talk with family about any family history of ovarian or breast cancer as these cancers can result from mutations (changes) in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes that are passed on in families. There are several types of gynaecological cancer and, cervical smear tests will not show ovarian cancer.“A lot of women are busy and they put their family first but they need to also prioritise themselves and their own health,” she says.Brett Marett, GSK medical director, says with the burden of ovarian cancer expected to increase within New Zealand and globally, the development of treatment options is critical.He says PARP inhibitors are a targeted cancer therapy that are showing significant promise in international research - helping to increase the length of time before the cancer progresses for those living with the disease.This newly funded treatment option for ovarian cancer may offer hope for the many Kiwi women and their family that are impacted by this disease each year,” he says.

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