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.

November 23, 2015

Stolen Girlfriends’ Club creates limited-edition straps for Samsung Gear S2 Classic smartwatch

Lucire staff/10.50

Stolen Girlfriends’ Club has created a collection of four customized leather watch straps for the Samsung Gear S2 smartwatch, in an official collaboration with the Korean electronics’ giant.
   The limited-edition straps, in black and brown crocodile, and green and blue snake, will be made available as a gift to some Samsung customers. They are made in New Zealand.
   The retro styling is intentional. As Marc Moore, Stolen Girlfriends’ Club’s creative director, noted, ‘I was really inspired by vintage watch straps for this collaboration with Samsung on the new Gear S2 Classic. I’ll be honest, I haven’t been a huge fan of some of the smartwatches being launched by brands lately—just because they look so “techy”, it doesn’t leave much option for people that are into fashion. So I was pretty excited when I first saw the Gear S2 Classic, I knew instantly that a vintage-styled strap would work great. We had a bit of fun with the colours and textures of the leather we sourced whilst keeping it really wearable and quite classic.’
   By rotating the face bezel, the Gear S2 goes to different screens, or skips to another track or zooms in on a map, making navigation particularly simple. The watch features health and fitness apps, a two- to three-day battery life, Android Bluetooth pairing, and push notifications via mobile phones. The straps can be changed further and the watch face can be customized via the Samsung Gear app. Retail price in New Zealand for the basic S2 is NZ$549, and the S2 Classic is NZ$649, available both online and at offline retailers.

October 23, 2015

News in brief: Kendall & Kylie launch; Plakinger makes sure daughters look stylish; Blue Can water packaged to last

Lucire staff/21.44

Top Kendall and Kylie Jenner with their new collection. Centre and above By using the same fabrics, mothers and daughters can have matching designs thanks to Plakinger.

The Kendall & Kylie Collection, designed by sisters Kendall and Kylie Jenner, will hit Forever New stores in Australia on November 17. With 19 pieces, the limited-edition collection consists of ‘directional party looks’, with playsuits, skirts, crop tops and dresses featuring black, white and blush tones as well as an animal print. Details include lace work, exposed zips and sheer panelling. Prices range from A$79·99 to A$249·99 and the range is available from and selected stores nationally and internationally.
   Plakinger, the luxury label started by Russian mother–daughter duo Svetlana Ziggel and her mother Galina Plakinger, has released 10 looks for mothers and their little girls, so that they can have outfits with the same fabrics. Made in their atelier in Germany, the label is available through Maison Bo-M in Riyadh and Jeddah in Saudi Arabia and in the concept stores owned by the Chaumont luxury group in China.
   One might think that bottled water lasts forever, but it only has a six- to twelve-month shelf life, and less if stored in extreme temperatures. Los Angeles-based Blue Can (right) provides premium emergency drinking water for homes, businesses and vehicles, thanks to a filtration system and the use of pressurized aluminium cans. The company says the water can be stored for decades—50 years is regularly cited. It supports the Emergency Water Foundation, a California non-profit corporation, which assists public institutions, business organizations, and schools with their Disaster Awareness Plans.

Below Some of the looks from the limited-edition Kendall & Kylie Collection.

October 6, 2015

Smart girls fake it: the Body Shop releases its Honey Bronze range for summer

Alex Barrow/22.45

The Body Shop’s Honey Bronze Range is two tanned steps ahead of summer this year! With the motto ‘Smart girls fake it’, the Tinted Leg Mist gives the wearer an even bronzed coverage without the harmful effects of the sun. The stand-out effects of this self-tanner are that it guarantees an oil-free finish with no transfer, and an even coverage without streakiness common in other tanners.
   Extensions of the range include a tinted face gel and highlighting cream bronzers, perfect for maintaining a bronzed glow to match the leg mist! To top this range off, the subtle honey fragrance draws one into the sweetness of summer.
   With this range, you can get the ‘just stepped off the beach’ before even going to the beach!
   The Tinted Leg Mist (125 ml) retails for NZ$49·50, the face gel for NZ$32·75, and the highlighting cream bronzers for NZ$36·95.
   The Honey Bronze collection is in store at the Body Shop this week in New Zealand.—Alex Barrow

September 28, 2015

Video: Victoria Beckham, Charlize Theron speak at United Nations General Assembly on ending Aids by 2030

Lucire staff/13.22


Top UNAIDS executive director Michel Sidibé with Victoria Beckham. Above Charlize Theron addresses the high-level UN event.

On Sunday, Victoria Beckham made her first public appearance since London Fashion Week, speaking at the United Nations in New York in her capacity as a UNAIDS goodwill ambassador at the 70th session of the UN General Assembly.
   Beckham spoke on the first day of the Social Good Summit, appearing alongside other luminaries such as HRH Princess Sarah Zeid of Jordan, UNDP administrator and former New Zealand prime minister Helen Clark, former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Charlize Theron, Jennifer López, Laverne Cox, Alek Wek, and humanitarian Graca Machel.
   Beckham saw her platform as one where she can help the goal of ensuring that no baby is born with HIV. ‘I will do whatever I can to raise awareness. I feel very passionate about this,’ she said. ‘I recently visited South Africa and was so touched by the women I met and felt inspired. I came home and I knew I had to do something.’
   Said Theron, Messenger of Peace for the United Nations and founder of the Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project, ‘There is a generation in jeopardy. Young people are falling through the cracks in the Aids response. But there is reason to hope, we know what works—empowering young people to take care of their health.’
   The UN has set a goal of ending Aids by 2030, as part of its ambitious Sustainable Development Goals.
   Clark noted, ‘For me it’s about peaceful and inclusive societies, because without that we don’t have the basis for any sustainable development at all. It’s about momentum, hold people accountable, hold your governments accountable, stay engaged as citizens, keep advocating on social media and not wait 15 years to see what happens.’

September 23, 2015

Fila Australia teams up with Lauren Phillips to launch spring–summer 2015–16 sportswear line

Alex Barrow/13.09

The Australian branch of international sportswear line Fila has welcomed TV host Lauren Phillips to be the new face of its spring–summer 2015–16 line. The conglomerate, which originated in Italy in 1911, has developed into one of the leading lifestyle and fitness wear companies in the world and maintains fashionable yet practical sportswear.
   The innovative materials used to create Fila sportswear allow the skin to breathe, with lightweight fabrics which stretch appropriately with the body’s natural movement. As “fitspiration” has become somewhat of a global phenomenon, FILA understands and adheres to the demand for sportswear to be fashionable, as well as practical and versatile. Furthermore, there are various collections which cater to different lifestyle needs. The Barre collection, for example, is designed and inspired by dance, featuring cardigan wraps, tulle overlays and cropped Ts which suit lower intensity workouts such as yoga and Pilates. Other sportswear includes leggings, fun coloured tops and Ts, as well as accessories such as bags, hats and microfibre towels to provide for your everyday active needs.
   The company hired Phillips due to her passion for living a healthy lifestyle by eating responsibly, engaging in regular active exercise, and being a good role model for children and adults alike. ‘Living a healthy and active life is hugely important to me and having fitness gear that caters for all types of training, but also has plenty of fun and colour injected into it is a perfect fit for me,’ says Phillips. The spring–summer range is in store now Australia-wide, as well as online.—Alex Barrow

September 14, 2015

The Body Shop’s Oils of Life range brings radiance back to skin

Alex Barrow/10.43

The Body Shop’s new Oils of Life range encompasses the natural radiance that oils bring to our complexions. Derived from three core oils—black cumin oil from Egypt, rosehip oil from Chile, and camellia oil from China—the Oils of Life range revitalizes skin with beneficial nutrients, enhancing youthful radiance, and rejuvenating soft, smooth skin.
   The Body Shop have released four new products as part of the Oils of Life range. The Intensely Revitalizing Essence Lotion provides a formula used after cleansing which leaves skin feeling instantly smooth, and provides all of the supple benefits of oils without the greasy feeling. Secondly, the Intensely Revitalizing Facial Oil furthers this step, and is absorbed easily by the skin, leaving it feeling replenished and healthy. Made from 99 per cent natural oils, this product is sure to leave skin feeling youthful and smooth. The Intensely Revitalizing Cream and Gel Cream are made of fatty acids, provided by the natural oils, which work together to leave skin completely moisturized without the heavy weight of other moisturizers. The Gel Cream is an even lighter moisturizer that provides the same benefits as an intensive hydrating lotion.
   With the demands of everyday life, the Oils of Life range brings radiance back into your skin. With its lightweight feel and natural benefits, what’s not to love? They are in store from September 14.—Alex Barrow

July 31, 2015

News in brief: Manfred Baumann shows in NYC in ’16; Derma Rescue’s new look; Carrera y Carrera celebrates 130 years

Lucire staff/14.55

Manfred Baumann

International photographer Manfred Baumann (left) will have an exhibition of his celebrity portraits in New York in 2016, featuring Kristanna Loken, David Hasselhoff and his daughter Hayley, John Carpenter, Mark Hamill, Alison Eastwood, Evander Holyfield, Jorja Fox, Fran Drescher, Molly Parker, JoBeth Williams, Harry Hamlin, Trevor Donovan, Carlos Bernard and Annie Wersching.
   He will also release a “best of” book covering the last few years of his work at the exhibition.
   Kinderma has announced that Derma Rescue, its high-end, luxurious skin moisturizer, has a new look.
   Derma Rescue has a higher concentration and quality of ceramides and antioxidants than competing products, according to Kinderma. It has been helping those suffering from eczema and psoriasis, and a trial with the National Psoriasis Foundation has shown ‘significant results.’
   Finally, Spanish luxury jewellery brand Carrera y Carrera commemorates its 130th anniversary this year. It has launched a book, downloadable as a PDF, as well as a video (below), covering its history.

Carrera y Carrera history from Carrera y Carrera on Vimeo

Manfred Baumann

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