The year we welcomed interpreters

Last updated 11:09 01/01/2014

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Manawatu welcomes 11 Afghani interpreters and their families to the region, Palmerston North's parking meter saga heats up, and a mayor takes a stand against the perils of mobility scooters - June 2013 has its fair share of weird and wonderful news.

Cow drops in

Graphic photos are released of Palmerston North woman Kirsten Dinnan who ended up in intensive care after a cow smashed through her windscreen, fracturing her skull in seven places. She had been driving to work in Levin via State Highway 57 and about 6.30am she crested a hill on a passing lane and a cow suddenly appeared in her vehicle's path, leaving her no time to avoid a collision.

NZ Order of Merit

Two Manawatu people are made Members of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the Queen's Birthday Honours - Phil Sutherland who helped start Arohanui Hospice and the International Pacific College, and Gael Donoghue, a life member and fellow of the Pharmaceutical Society of New Zealand.

Wind farm all go

The Puketoi wind farm gets the final go-ahead in June, a move opponents of the development slammed as "a shame for the New Zealand landscape".

Speed cut cut

Palmerston North City Council rejects a plan to permanently cut speeds to 30kmh outside city primary and intermediate schools, instead voting to consult the public on an alternative that would phase in 40kmh variable speed restrictions around "high priority" schools.

Good internet citizens

Palmerston North Girls' High School encourages its pupils to be "good digital citizens" in the wake of a government crackdown on cyberbullying. The new responsible use of information and communications technology (ICT) agreement asks students and parents to sign a document to show they recognise high standards of conduct online.

The school also wants the girls to brush up on their knowledge of internet privacy law in preparation for the working world.

Mobility mob fears

Horowhenua Mayor Brendan Duffy raises the ire of mobility scooter users after labelling the mode of transport potentially deadly and calling for speed restrictions and mandatory training.

Mr Duffy said the population was ageing and this would lead to more scooters being used.

"These people drive flash cars today; they're going to drive flash mobility scooters in the future."

His fears may be warranted, as the NZ Transport Agency said there had been 17 accidents involving mobility scooters in the Manawatu/Whanganui region, which includes Horowhenua, in the past five years.

Warm welcome Welcome home!

A group of Afghani interpreters and their families arrive to live in Palmerston North to a warm welcome from soldiers at Linton who had worked alongside them in Afghanistan. The moment the bus full of the city's newest residents opened its doors, Kiwi soldiers jumped on board to embrace comrades they had thought they may never see again. Volunteers and army personnel crowded around the bus full of 11 Afghan families, who arrived to greetings of "salaam aleikhum" from their Kiwi hosts.

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Mean-spirited meters

Palmerston North City Council is called mean-spirited after proposing to axe the 10 minutes of free parking after city meters expire. The extra time was introduced in December after the city council was on the end of a backlash about strict enforcement of parking rules, but the effect of the tolerance policy on parking revenue had been severe.

Tough as boots

About 1200 people brave icy conditions to take part in the Tough Guy and Gal Challenge at Linton Military Camp. The 6-kilometre course included a splash through a mud pool, a slosh run over soaked grass and slippery climbs. The event was won by Hayden Prosser, making it his fourth consecutive win.

Postal centre jobs

Manawatu is the big winner in a shake-up at New Zealand Post, with 180 new jobs being created at the Manawatu Mail Centre. The mail service will be consolidating its Christchurch, Auckland and Palmerston North sites, with the Wellington, Waikato, Dunedin and satellite mail service centres closing.

Survived quad

Farm worker Richard Hina is found alive after being trapped under his quad bike for 24 hours on the Feilding farm where he worked. He had hypothermia, severe tissue damage to his left ankle, a sore jaw and broken glasses. Later in the year Hina, 21, is found guilty of two charges of committing an indecent act against a teenage girl and sentenced to seven-and-a-half months' home detention.

Food vendors scarper

After steep rises in rent for food vendors in Palmerston North's Square put people off applying, Palmerston North City Council relents and approaches potential vendors with revised prices. It was too late for Square stalwart Atsushi Taniyama and his popular Yatai caravan, and he ceased trading from his caravan there.

- © Fairfax NZ News

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