This week the challenge team decided to take some of the big news items of the week from New Zealand and report on them as junior journalists of the Ashley School Challenging Times ‘Newspaper’.


Fire at Porters Pass

By Sophie and Couper, 9 September 2019

Thick clouds of smoke coming from the fire on Porter’s Pass. Source: Oliver Dobbin / TV One

A fire that ravaged 270 hectares of land in Porters Pass in Canterbury has been extinguished. Fire crews were called to the blaze early on Sunday morning.

It has destroyed over 270 hectares, some people think that the ATM robbery at Darfield was linked to the fire as an abandoned gas lit car was declared to have started the fire.

The Porters Pass Ski field had its busiest day when the fire started. Some people were stranded because the state highway 76 was closed.

It has been suspected that the fire may have started from a vehicle linked to a crime, and the criminal ended up dumping the car and setting it on fire to remove the evidence. 

The fire started in a gully then jumped the road, spreading through more vegetation, destroying more than 100 hectares of native conservation land.


Measles Outbreak 

By Matthew and Connor 9 September 2019

The outbreak of measles has had a knock on effect in the Auckland and Upper North Island community. Experts and parents are calling for big sports events to be cancelled like the Aims Games. Some events have already been cancelled such as the secondary schools rugby competition. People with any symptoms are being urged to stay away from public spaces and some schools have asked students for a certificate to confirm they have had their vaccination or they have been told to stay away from school. 

As of September the 4th, there has been 991 confirmed cases of measles across the country since the start of the year, with 821 cases in Auckland alone. 

The current outbreak has affected the Auckland DHB area massively and also has affected the Waikato DHB area. Earlier in the year, the South Island (mainly Canterbury) had a big outbreak, however it doesn’t really compare to the Auckland outbreak.

Children under 5 and young people aged between 15-29 are the most likely to be affected and 40% of those who get measles will need hospital care according to medical experts.

Vaccination clinics are being held throughout South Auckland as the best way to avoid contracting measles is vaccination.

At this stage the outbreak is not a crisis although that status could change. To be classified as a pandemic, the entire country has to be affected rather than an isolated region or two.