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It’s great to see the Auld Mug back down under and the weather couldn’t dampen the celebratory parades to welcome the team and the silverware home. It’s a wonderful achievement with a lot to be proud of and it’s clear there were some genius solutions by Emirates Team New Zealand who are leading the world in sailing technology. For a small country we more than pedal our weight on the world’s oceans and everyone who took part deserves to take a bow, not to mention a break, after all their efforts. Elise Beavis, a performance engineer from Milford, was part of the winning behind-the-scenes team and is blazing an impressive trail as one of the few women in an America’s Cup team.

Let’s not forget the up and comings who competed in the Youth America’s Cup – they couldn’t quite bring it home but the team, including Devonport local Logan Dunning Beck and Rosmini old boy Luca Brown, did themselves proud. As competitive Kiwis of course we want to keep the winning team intact which is why we are supporting Team New Zealand over the next 4 years.

Our electronic devices, in my case the smartphone, iPad and laptop are indispensable tools of my trade enabling me to stay connected wherever I am 24/7. If I ever get stuck, my 19 year old son Joe seems to know intuitively how to solve any problems. For younger generations, born in to the digital world, it makes perfect sense for schools and teachers to incorporate more technology into their schooling. The new Education Minister Nikki Kaye has announced a new initiative to enhance the digital fluency of our young people. On the North Shore we don’t have to look far to understand the positive impact of modern learning environments and several are under construction including at Belmont Primary, and Takapuna Grammar. It will help develop integrated, fit-for-purpose systems so students gain the skills they need for life-long success.

Since becoming Minister for Seniors the number one concern I’ve heard from talking to groups all over the country is the growing problem of elder abuse which is why I’ve changed the way we deliver these important services. The new, confidential help line – 0800 32 668 65 -0800 EA NOT OK is now available with advice and support 24/7 and every call is answered by a registered nurse. For victims or anyone wanting advice about what to do, they’ll be referred to appropriate local services which are being provided here on the North shore by Age Concern in Takapuna.

The long awaited Waterview Tunnel is proving very successful at keeping Auckland traffic moving and I’m impressed it has cut ten minutes off my trip from Stanley Point to the airport. The $1.4 billion project is New Zealand’s biggest and most complex roading development, connecting the Southern and Western motorways via a ring route and giving more options for drivers.

Auckland’s public transport is about to be transformed by the City Rail Link thanks to a new company owned jointly with local government which will focus on making the train link become a reality as soon as possible.

The Depot Artspace was the perfect venue for a stimulating Sunday afternoon discussion on mana and Matariki led by the writer Witi Ihimaera. I was honoured to join the wide ranging conversation along with poet and former fellow broadcaster Haare Williams. The Maori New Year, Matariki, is a time to remember those who have died in the past year, to celebrate life and to plant traditional crops as the seven sisters stars make their impressive entrance onto the night sky.

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