Lucire: News


November 27, 2015

Op–ed: Kiribati’s waking nightmare

Lucire staff/11.22

November 27, 2015

Rt Hon John Key, MP, Prime Minister
Hon Bill English, MP, Deputy Prime Minister
Parliament Buildings
New Zealand

Dear John and Bill,

I’m having a nightmare. I want to tell you guys about it—to tell you to wake me up; shake me if you have to. Scream me awake, and when I am, I want you to tell me it’s not as bad as it seems.
   I’ve landed in Tarawa, Kiribati, where news from New Zealand awaited me that John has declared his faith that climate change can be addressed with technology—scientists have told him the technology isn’t far off.
   At an official dinner, people look at me as though I have some glorious technology news to pass on. I don’t. I went to bed that evening feeling hollow; figures screaming through my head, the voice of that pesky Jim Salinger uttering the most terrifying words I’ve heard in many years: ‘The world has now entered abrupt climate change.’ You know Jim right, the guy with the Nobel Peace Prize? Gosh, I wish he would shut up with all that sense he talks.
   In the same nightmare I wake the next day to be told that 90 per cent of drinking water wells have been contaminated with E. coli, that the crops at vital plantations are no longer growing due to saltwater poisoning the ground. That lagoons which once fed villages have become infested with E. coli, killing a large bounty of marine life. That the ocean-warming and acidification has killed a majority of the coral atoll that forms the very ground I’m stood on. It’s like a really bad apocalypse video game—I’m anxious that zombies are going to duck out from behind the door. I look around at homes whose front doors the ocean now laps, at dead fruit trees once laden with produce killed by the salt seeping into the soil. I’m failing to see what Tony Abbott found so comical about this situation.
   In this nightmare I wonder what kind of technology could possibly solve this. I then remind myself of John’s track record of absolute reliability, and I feel comforted. The law can’t solve this. I mean, even if it could and there were laws to protect these people, there are no lawyers, and they’d be unaffordable for these people if there were. So, technology must be the saving grace.
   I visited the hospital to witness first-hand what an infant mortality rate 10 times that of New Zealand’s looks like. Have you ever seen such a thing? It’s completely shocking; it hit me with a force a hundred times that of any image of a child lying washed up on a shore a world away. I tried to fight back the tears, and the numbing coldness that consumed my body. I tried not to vomit—but later in the privacy of my room I did find solace in a Fiji Airways sick bag. I sat there and waited for the moment I’d be shaken awake. I desperately wanted John to ride in and tell me that the threat of climate migration is many years off and not something to be worried about. I wanted Bill to sit down and tell me that none of it was real, and the sea levels were not rising.
   John, could you go tell that mate of yours Obama to stop being a bloody alarmist; that according to Bill, there’s no proof Alaskan villages are vanishing into the ocean. That entire nations are not facing forced-extinction from the ocean swallowing them alive. You go tell that puffed-up American know-it-all that he’s alarming the masses, causing me nightmares and unwanted anxiety.
   Bill, could you go tell all those apparently credible scientists who’ve won those fancy awards, that 2015 is not the hottest year in history and they’re just plain wrong. Round them up with Malcolm across the ditch (because they give him a hard time as well) and be done with them. Bully them into submission a bit harder. Just shut them up.

Thanks in advance,



I imagined the response coming back something a little like this.

Dear Pearl,

You are far too much of a pretty wee thing to be travelling to such far-flung and irrelevant places like Kiribati in your nightmares; to spend time worrying about such things. Why don’t you pay heed to the advice I gave Keisha Castle-Hughes: try visiting the salon for a bad blow-dry instead?
   Don’t worry about other people. By the time New Zealand starts feeling the full effect of climate change we’ll have the technology available to deal with it.
   I’ve also got Malcolm under control—he’s going to share Nauru so we’ve got somewhere to put all those helpless fellow human beings in the Pacific fleeing the rising sea-levels and food shortages. The ones who think they’re right to turn to us for help. I’m going to stop the boats.
   Meanwhile, the Kardashians have a new season, vote for the fern, and use our new buzz word: technology.
   In the meantime, here’s a Live Lokai bracelet. Hold on to it, because before long the Dead Sea and Everest will be things for the history books.

Merry Christmas,



That’s kind of how this piece came about. I thought I’d write a wee letter. The problem is, the more I wrote and decried the blind buying-in of the latest spin to come out of the ninth floor, the more ridiculous it felt, and the more scared I became in turn. If I’m completely honest, the realization that many—possibly even some reading this piece—didn’t know how absurd the spin had become, worried me to the point of physical sickness. Thanks again Fiji Airways, your sick bags are truly first-class.
   I’m writing this from Kiribati. I’m fully awake. I’m awake in a nightmare. I went to the hospital. I waded through water at high-tide to cross the road infested with human fæces to get there before what they call the ‘morgue’ closed. In a bag at the other end of the room was a pile of clothes and a pair of trainers I never want to see again. I was going to turf them out, but a young woman tasked with showing me around asked if she could have them, since for her wading through the stench of death and fæces was an everyday reality.
   Don’t get me wrong, Kiribati is absolutely beautiful and if it weren’t for the damage wreaked by rising sea levels and climate change, I would focus only on its beauty, but the reality is these threats make the situation people face here far from idyllic. It’s a dire situation, it’s a nightmare.
   A real-life nightmare, there is no amount of shaking that can wake me; though shaking I am, believe me. Shaking from incredulity at the sheer scale of the situation. The problem is I’m not the who needs to be screamed awake. That’s right: if you have ever for one moment entertained the illusion that sea-levels are not rising; that climate change is not the single biggest threat facing humanity; that you can carry on shirking the responsibility to aid in the fight for human survival and dignity, you need to be screamed awake. Will the humanity in you please wake up?
   I’m not saying this with any political leaning. I believe that most of our politicians are drastically failing us all. Who knows what will happen if we leave this to them. I mean, half of those reading this may freak out at the thought of the Green Party controlling the economy, but don’t blink an eyelid at them leading on the issue defined as ‘the single greatest threat to mankind’ by every serious world leader. Why is that? How will the economy exist without our planet?
   Climate change is no longer some far-off theory or problem. It is happening right here and widely through our Pacific backyard. Right now. As you read this climate change is already disrupting our agriculture and ecosystems, our food and water security, our energy, our infrastructure, our health, our safety. Today. Tomorrow. Some more than others but make no mistake it is happening to all of us. It is the issue. An issue that affects all issues, economic included. Everything is and will be impacted. And it becomes more damning with each passing year.
   This matter is far too important to be surrendered to the political domain. This is about humanity. If you think the devastation wreaked by ISIS is as bad as it gets, then please contemplate Mother Nature.
   If the images of parents putting their children into boats because the water was safer than the land left you reeling, then please consider that in the not-too-distant future this will become a reality for many small island states; that many nations in the Pacific will not survive the two-degree cap that Paris is gearing up to gain commitment for in the coming week. They will have to put their children into boats because the water is safer than the land. We have already signed them up for that, and every moment that each of us stands by maintaining the status quo we sign them up for worse—exponentially.
   They will have to flee their homes, forced to migrate due to the lack of food security. Rising sea-levels, along with drastic weather disturbances will make a boat safer than their homes, and these boats will head for our shores.
   Despite this cold hard reality our leaders head into Paris in support of watering a climate agreement down. There’s talk of steps to make the agreement not legally binding. Not many would agree to a marriage or business deal on such terms, I wonder why we are willing to let them negotiate humankind’s survival on such flippant terms.
   During the explosion of the refugee crisis into mainstream media we witnessed both the most hopeful and depraved responses to others’ suffering. I couldn’t help but wonder about the rationale for stopping the boats, for refusing the asylum and migration of those most in need—those least at fault in the destruction of our ecologies, but who will continue to pay the highest price. What possible excuse will we give to keep them out? Do we convince ourselves they’re all terrorists, rapists and murderers to render them exempt from the right to our sympathies, to human dignity? It’s a sad state of affairs that anyone would have to wonder such a thing.
   Leading into the sustainable development goals, New Zealand took a step towards supporting the Pacific, coming out strong and vocal on Sustainable Development Goal 14 (SDG14), which focuses on the conservation and sustainable use of ocean, sea and marine resources. This focus was well warranted, and an open acknowledgement of our responsibility within the region, and our understanding of how many lives depend on the ocean ecologies. I was proud to stand in the General Assembly and hear John Key announce the Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary. It was an important step, but we must be clear that it was but one step in the marathon of steps we need to build a better world.
   In the words of Jim Salinger and virtually every other expert of climate science in the world, the world has entered abrupt climate change. We have already reached tipping-points we cannot mitigate. We are already signed up for things that are going to drastically change life as we know it, this is a cold hard fact. The question that remains now is whether we can summon the courage to turn around and fight for survival. Life is already going to change; but whether we tumble over yet more tipping-points points and the scale of the consequences we face from them is up to us. Sometimes we have little option but to wake ourselves up.
   We have a choice. We can surrender that choice to those who hold offices of power, or we can take that choice into our own consideration. Some say the whole endeavour to pull back from this is hopeless. I’m not willing to accept that. I simply refuse to stand by and let life go without a fight.
   John Key used very interesting rhetoric this week. He used the word ‘faith’. He is placing his faith in technology. Instead I am going to place my faith in humankind—the creators of technology. I am going to place my faith in our ability to comprehend the magnitude of what we face, and choose survival. I ask you to join not just myself, but others around the world in doing so. We still have a fighting chance to make things better. They won’t get better unless we take action and inspire others to do the same. No one is without power: everybody has the capacity to take a few steps.
   I’ve written this for those who know how to challenge the status quo intelligently. The doers, the thinkers, the problem-solvers. I’m not asking anyone to climb something or break laws, just that each person reading this ponders for a minute about how they can contribute, what steps they can take.
   So as we lead into the COP21 talks, billed as a defining moment in human history, at a time when recent events have given us ample reason to desert our faith in our own kind, I encourage every single person reading this to ask themselves what they can do to take action. This weekend millions of citizens around the world are exercising their rights, their freedoms, using their voices and taking to the streets to send world leaders an imperative to act and take meaningful action.
   Mark my words: a decade or possibly two from now it won’t be the Rugby World Cup final you remember with pride. What will be etched in your memory is whether you answered humanity’s call for survival, whether you were one of those who actually did something. Sometimes that something is simply the act of showing up to show solidarity with humankind. In Paris where world leaders have gathered there can be no march, because the worst of humanity put on a display that has left millions of innocent people terrorized. So in the coming week I will be keeping my eyes firmly on Paris, I am marching, I am lending my effort to reinforce the very best in humanity, because if there’s one thing the world needs right now, it’s more of the good.
   It’s only so big, it goes around and we are all on it—Earth. I believe it’s worth saving, do you?—Pearl Going

Disruption, excerpt: ‘Tipping Points’ from Disruption on Vimeo

Above Kiribati President Anote Tong with his TED discussion, ‘My country will be underwater soon—unless we work together’. Click above to watch.

Guest contributor Pearl Going is a global communications’ strategist who has worked broadly across entertainment, human rights and environmental issues. Her most recent work includes the Mercy Campaign, Rohingya Slavery and SIDS. She is an avid climber and has climbed five of the seven summits.

September 23, 2015

World announces T-shirt created for the United Nations, supporting the Global Goals

Lucire staff/11.27

World has broken new ground again: it’s the first design house to have created a T-shirt for the United Nations, with the legend YOUN on the front.
   The company says the T-shirts support the UN’s 17 Global Goals for Sustainable Development, to be launched on September 25 in New York, at an event attended by US president Barack Obama, 100 world leaders and UN ambassadors.
   They hit World stores, online and offline, from September 25, New Zealand time, and through selected international retailers. The smallest size fits newborns.
   ‘Since our inception in 1989, it has always been part of World’s philosophy to give back, as our company has grown, so has the importance of our awareness and support for local and international charitable organizations,’ said World co-founder Francis Hooper.
   The UN wants to see 193 world leaders commit to the 17 goals, to achieve three extraordinary things in the next 15 years: to end extreme poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and fix climate change.
   The full list of 17 goals can be seen at the UN’s Global Goals website, at
   World will donate 20 per cent of all sales to the UN. It encourages customers wearing the T-shirts to hashtag #worldbrandglobalgoals to show their support.

September 10, 2015

News in brief: British GQ hosts Men of the Year Awards; Proof eyewear arrives in New Zealand

Lucire staff/14.24

Middle photograph by David M. Benett

British GQ hosted its 18th annual Men of the Year awards, in association with Hugo Boss, with Diageo’s Cîroc Vodka providing the cocktails and prizes of magnum bottles at the Royal Opera House event on Tuesday. Cîroc also sponsored the Solo Artist award, won by singer Sam Smith, on the same day it was announced that he would perform the next James Bond theme song, ‘Writing’s on the Wall’, for Spectre. Other guests at the event included David Gandy, Jourdan Dunn, Lewis Hamilton, James Bay, Keith Richards, Lionel Richie, Samuel L. Jackson, Elton John, Will Ferrell, Charlie Casely-Hayford, Sam Claflin, Emilia Clarke, Ella Catliff, Amber Le Bon, Yasmin Le Bon, Blur, Jason Atherton, Marc Newson, Jodie Kidd, Daisy Lowe, Erin O’Connor, Naomie Harris, Henry Holland, Nicholas Hoult, Paul Rudd and Oliver Cheshire. As well as the Cîroc cocktails (Cîroc Blue Stone, Cîroc Men of the Year and Cîroc Thyme Sour), dinner consisted of pickled beets, truffle ricotta, baby gem lettuce and pine nuts, followed by bream fillet with potato cake, marinated squid and heritage potato salsa, ending with a lemon and thyme cheesecake.
   Sustainable eyewear is in vogue now, and Idaho-based Proof eyewear is launching into the New Zealand market in time for summer. The Wood collection features sustainably sourced wood, including mahogany, walnut and bamboo; the Eco collection uses cotton-based acetate and sustainably sourced wood; and the Skate collection uses recycled Canadian maple skateboards. A portion of each sale goes to Proof’s socially responsible Do Good programme, which has provided tsunami relief in Japan, child soldier rehabilitation in Africa, and reforestation in Haïti. In 2013, Proof donated funds to build two eye clinics in India, and this year, they donated over US$12,000 in El Salvador toward community projects, and another US$12,000 went to the Nature Conservancy in Idaho. Proof’s New Zealand website is at

David M. Benett; JAB Promotions; courtesy Diageo

September 7, 2015

Huawei and futurist Sabine Seymour predict technology’s impact on fashion

Lucire staff/22.44

We know that fashion and technology will continue coming together, and we’ve seen some innovative ideas where technology impacts on what we wear—including clothing that senses a person’s mood and alters itself accordingly. If Dr Sabine Seymour, futurist, author of Fashionable Technology, and professor of fashion and technology at Parsons is right, these ideas will become mainstream, including several others that would have been science fiction a generation ago.
   Huawei, the Chinese mobile device manufacturer, has teamed up with Seymour, as it launched a new smartwatch, which it called ‘premium … with a classic design, which is also technologically innovative.’
   Huawei’s new watch, measuring 42 mm in diameter, features a touch-sensitive AMOLED display coated in scratch-proof sapphire crystal and a stainless steel frame.
   Seymour says our underwear will begin having sensors that track personal data, such as heart rate and body temperature—an evolution of some of the exercise accessories that are commonplace today.
   We will be able to change the pattern, colour, shape and style of our garments in the future, forecasts Seymour, with technology more seamlessly integrated into clothing. Clothes will become gesture- and touch-sensitive. Length and shape can change as required, and users will be able to download new designs. Newly downloaded prints can display on to the garment.
   Garments that adjust to body temperature are on the horizon, too, while 3-D printing and on-demand manufacturing will see shoes produced in the home to a perfect fit. They will also connect to cars, which will adjust the seat accordingly.
   These fashions will be sustainable and their power will come possibly from kinetic energy, rather than batteries.

August 21, 2015

The Body Shop celebrates 12 years of its Tea Tree range with super-sized additions

Alex Barrow/11.05

The Body Shop’s Tea Tree range is celebrating its 12th year in production with a limited-edition super-sized collection of natural, skin-friendly products.
   From its launch in 1993, exclusive to Australia and New Zealand, the demand for the little bottle that packs a punch allowed for wider global distribution one year later. Now, as one of the best sellers, the Body Shop sells one bottle of Tea Tree Oil every eight seconds globally!
   The tea tree leaves are sourced from the foothills of Mount Kenya and, in line with the Body Shop’s ethics and values, are harvested and distilled through Fair Trade-approved farm work. From this comes the concentrated Tea Tree Oil. The oil itself targets blemishes, without any nasty chemicals, and leaves your skin feeling and looking clearer. Now, as part of a limited-edition collection, Tea Tree Oil comes in a 20 ml bottle, and the Tea Tree facial wash and Tea Tree toner are now available in larger 400 ml sizes. The range is in store from August 24.—Alex Barrow

August 17, 2015

Keeping it natural: Stoneleigh launches Wild Valley range of wild-fermented wines

Lucire staff/3.56

Stoneleigh launched its Wild Valley range at the end of last week, a line-up of wild-fermented New Zealand wines comprising a 2015 Marlborough sauvignon blanc and a 2014 Marlborough pinot noir.
   The Stoneleigh Wild Valley wines get their complexity from nature, fermented by indigenous yeasts that are naturally present in the Rapaura, Marlborough vineyards. By allowing nature to take its course, the wines have an added texture to the fruity, citrus flavours that earlier Stoneleigh wines are known for.
   There has been minimal intervention, though Stoneleigh winemaker Jamie Marfell (left) stresses that a great deal of care has still gone into each wine. ‘Stoneleigh Wild Valley uses naturally occurring micro-flora to ferment the fruit, which gives the resulting wines the purest expression of our terroir. It’s like capturing the essence of our Marlborough vineyards in a bottle,’ he says.
   The 2015 Marlborough sauvignon blanc features lifted grapefruit and nectarine aromas, and citrus and passionfruit flavours, and the 2014 Marlborough pinot noir has flavours of wild berries, strawberries, raspberries and dark cherries with a subtle, toasty savouriness, according to Stoneleigh.
   The wines retail at NZ$18·99 each throughout New Zealand.

August 13, 2015

Trilogy launches Raha perfume, benefiting So They Can to empower Tanzanian women and children

Lucire staff/12.14

Trilogy has introduced a second perfume called Raha, following its limited-edition Jua Natural Perfume last year. The Raha Natural Perfume, again in partnership with So They Can, is another limited edition, which sees NZ$2 from every sale donated to the charity to educate and empower Kenyan and Tanzanian communities.
   Raha, developed in conjunction with perfumer Yves Dombrowsky, is a natural perfume with Tanzanian sunflower oil as its base, produced by one of So They Can’s projects. Its top notes are green galbanum, citrus, bergamot and black pepper, mid-notes are composed of blue iris, marine accord, rose and frankincense, and the basenotes are warm vanilla with subtle spice. All are natural ingredients.
   The name Raha translates to joy in Swahili, and the fragrance was inspired by the warn African rain which ‘brings joy, growth and survival. It cools the thirsty land, sharpens the crisp aromas of the bush, and brings life to plants, animals and people,’ says the company.
   The 7·5 ml roll-on applicator perfume oil retails for NZ$24·90 and hits stores on August 15 in New Zealand.
   Two hundred and fifty bottles are donated to So They Can for their own fundraising as well.
   Jua raised NZ$20,000, enough to provide an annual income for 50 women sunflower farmers and harvesters in Tanzania, according to Trilogy. The target this year is NZ$30,000, providing for 50 Tanzanian women and a full year’s education for 500 children.

Top Women farmers in Tanzania during the harvest. Above A sunflower field in Tanzania.

August 6, 2015

Sponsored video: Appleton Estate’s Jamaican tradition is assured

Lucire staff/15.07

The Caribbean is most closely associated with rum when it comes to alcohol, and Appleton Estate is arguably the brand that rum lovers will think of when Jamaica comes up. Now part of Campari, Appleton Estate’s history goes back to the dawn of rum itself, to 1655 when the British captured the islands from the Spanish.
   This 4,614 ha estate is the oldest sugar estate and distillery in the country that has been in continuous production, and the brand readily plays on its Jamaican heritage, especially in its latest spot that connects the island’s culture and spirit with the rum itself.
   In the Nassau Valley, from where Jamaica’s fruits and vegetables predominantly come, Appleton Estate began creating rum in 1749, and now has a range of three core types: the Signature Blend Jamaica Rum, the Reserve Blend Jamaica Rum and the Extra 12 Year Old Jamaica Rum. Two limited-edition luxury rums form the remainder of the range: the 21 Year Old Jamaica Rum and 50 Year Old Jamaica Rum—Jamaica Independence Reserve.
   They are known for their bold aromas and fruity notes, with the Reserve having an added complexity. The Independence Reserve, launched in 2012 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the country’s independence, saw 800 bottles released worldwide, with an even more complex bouquet and intensity.
   The process is environmentally friendly today, with an emission-free boiler, a process to turn the filter press mud into fertilizer, and an extensive recycling programme in the Nassau Valley. Under the eye of Joy Spence, the first woman to hold the position of Master Blender in the spirits’ industry, Appleton Estate continues its Jamaican tradition, one which its current owner is keen to uphold, as can be seen in its latest spot.

Post sponsored by Appleton Estate

Filed under: environment, history, living, TV
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