NZ-first of its kind online funeral donation-giving platform


Christchurch – A Christchurch company has come up with a New Zealand-first concept of a platform so people can give money online for a charity at a funeral.

At the moment, the only other option is for people to set up a page on sites like Give A Little or Everyday Hero. Now, a Christchurch tech business, Memorial Gifting, has produced a much easier way of making online donations to a charity in memory of a loved one that avoids the need for the family to have to set up their own online collection.
“People are able to donate using their credit or debit card by using the link published in the newspaper and on the service sheet,” Memorial Gifting director Terry Fullerton says.

“Donating online has the benefits that the family of the deceased know who has donated and can thank them plus the people making the donations will receive a tax receipt from the charity.
“It is common for the family to ask for donations to a charity in their remembrance and often in lieu of flowers.

“A donation box at a funeral is less effective as hardly anyone carries cash any longer. So, we have solved the problem so people can more easily donate online. We find that with online donations both the individual amount donated and the total donated are much larger than what is collected in the donation box.

“Many funeral directors throughout New Zealand are now using the service to add a link to a death notice that allows Memorial Gifting to activate an online collection allowing people to donate immediately.

“Funeral homes here welcome the idea of phasing out the donation box as it saves their staff time and hassle of handling cash donations. In Australia, it is common to request that the benefiting organisation attend the service to do their own collections.

“Our online donation service is available for all funeral directors to offer to their clients at no cost to the family or the funeral home as an easy, effective way to collect donations. Any funeral home not already using our service only needs to contact us to begin the simple process.

“What is so distinctive about our Memorial Gifting site compared with any other online donation sites is that we enable funeral directors to insert a donation link at the time of writing the death notice, making the service immediate and tailored for the family and benefiting organisation.

“We believe the technology has the potential to do for funeral donations what online donations has done for church collections,” Fullerton says.

For further information contact Christchurch Company Memorial Gifting Terry Fullerton on 027 4729180 or Make Lemonade NZ editor-in-chief Kip Brook on 0275 03018


First major NZ exercise conference in Christchurch for 15 years


Christchurch – The phenomenal growth of boutique fitness studios as well as specialist classes such as aqua and spin will be among the topics discussed at the FitEx-Lite conference in Christchurch next month.

The May 18 ExerciseNZ event has attracted interest from hundreds of people and will be hosting speakers from both around New Zealand and overseas.

ExerciseNZ chief executive Richard Beddie says another big issue to be talked about will be facia. This tissue which is important for stabilisation and mobility within the body, is so often ignored.

“Facia, or the connective tissue between the muscles, ligaments and tendons, is proving to play an important role in not only performance, but everyday movement and, in many cases, restrictions and injuries.

“We will also discuss why rest is so important for the body. Regular exercisers often use techniques and concepts borrowed from athletes yet they seldom use the rest athletes’ and recovery strategies.

“We will also look at solutions on how to support people with chronic health conditions – everything from cancer to Alzheimers. There are so many health conditions which benefit from exercise.

“Learning the what and how of exercising with a serious health condition is essential if we as an industry are going to help about a million Kiwis with a chronic long-term health issues,” Beddie says.

ExerciseNZ has been running major annual conferences in Auckland every for the last 15 years but Christchurch has one of the most active communities of exercise professionals in NZ, taking into account its size.

Beddie says he is excited to launch the first ever FitEx LITE in Christchurch which has been designed to offer world-class education opportunities for exercise professionals and movement practitioners.

For further information contact Make Lemonade NZ editor-in-chief Kip Brook on 0275 030188


Terrorism a first for NZ but decades now for Afghanistan


Christchurch – While last Friday’s terrorist attack in Christchurch was the first for New Zealand, Afghanistan’s ambassador to Australia and non-resident to New Zealand says his country has been victims of violence and terrorism for more than four decades.

Ambassador Wahidullah Waissi is in Christchurch to pay tribute to the victims in Christchurch, meet NZ authorities and members of the Afghan community in the city.

And today are burial funerals for two Afghan-born New Zealanders – murdered in the terrorist attack on the Al Noor mosque on Deans Ave.

“We condemn these brutal terrorist attacks on peace-loving New Zealanders in Christchurch and we believe there is no place for violence and extremism in Aotearoa New Zealand and in any other parts of the world,” Waissi says.

“But Afghanistan has constantly been a target of terrorism. For the last few years, we have been losing around 10 to 15 people every day to international terrorism.

“When we first heard of the attack in Australia, no one knew why but wondered how it could happen in such a peaceful environment as New Zealand. We never initially realised it was a terrorist act.

“Then when it was announced as an act of terrorism, it was just another assault on people, now in this part of the world. It is understood that international terrorists and extremists do not know borders, race, religion or country. Those who commit such brutal acts, do not believe in any religious values and principles.

“Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani has offered his condolences to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who has shown her great leadership at this difficult moment and we have passed that on. We regard New Zealand as one of our closest allies.”

“It is a call to embrace inter-faith peace, solidarity, and unity against extremism on all sides.”

Four Afghans have been treated in Christchurch hospital for gunshot wounds.

Ambassador Waissi also endorsed the brave actions of Abdul Aziz who fought the terrorist at the Linwood mosque preventing many more deaths.

A public vigil will be held around the Masjid Al Noor mosque for the first prayers there since the attack tomorrow afternoon.

For further information contact Make Lemonade editor-in-chief Kip Brook on 0275 030188.


NZ among the worst countries for physical inactivity


Christchurch – New Zealand is rated 10th best in the world for gym membership but we have some of the worst physical inactivity levels globally, ExerciseNZ chief executive Richard Beddie says.

He has just returned from a World Health Organisation conference in Geneva where he led a session on global standards for exercise professionals.

“For a country like ours, we should be much more active. About 14 percent of the population have gym memberships which puts us right up there, but we also have some of the worst inactivity levels with 40 percent of New Zealanders inactive which just doesn’t meet the WHO levels for active societies. This makes us 13th worst globally for inactvity,” Beddie says.

“New Zealand is fast becoming a country of haves and have nots when it comes to physical activity.

“WHO believes anything more than 28 percent of the population not exercising is unacceptable – and in New Zealand it is even worse or a high level of inactivity for children.

“Globally the average rate of inactivity (defined as less than 150 minutes of physical activity a week) is 28 percent. New Zealand’s 40 percent inactivity rate is therefore very concerning, especially considering that the rate for childrens’ inactivity is even higher (as high as 90 percent in some age groups).

“My presentation was about how the exercise industry has developed global standards for exercise professionals, now adopted by 12 countries including the US, India, China, Canada, NZ, Australia, the UK.

“NZ was at the forefront of standards development for exercise professionals, being the third country in the world to develop a national registration system underpinned by qualifications mapped to government standards.

“The WHO meeting was very productive with lots of actionable steps, including the likely introduction of inclusive fitness which is a campaign driven by UNESCO. WHO are looking at including that initiative into their global physical activity plan.

“ExerciseNZ has already agreed to launch it in New Zealand. It’s all about making exercise accessible to everyone, regardless of ability or disability.”

Those with disabilities have barriers to taking part in some activities but this initiative is training staff, developing specific programmes where needed and supporting those with disabilities to take part in existing programmes and services offered by exercise providers.

Beddie says in the context of the UNESCO initiative, New Zealand had more than one million people who would fall into the disability category such sight loss, physical and mental disability and chronic health conditions.

He also attended the IHRSA conference in San Diego and he hosted the Australasian forum discussing how to support non-exercising groups with exercise, instructor standards, and career pathways for people entering the exercise industry.

“The big issue is how to support those that don’t traditionally take part in exercise or haven’t done so in many years.

“Finally but most importantly, our heartfelt thoughts go out to the families, friends and whanau of those affected by last week’s tragedy in Christchurch.

“As part of the Christchurch community, we stand united to say terrorism has no place in our country. Our fitness community in particular prides itself on being inclusive and where there is no room for racial or religious discrimination, and all are welcome.”

For further information contact Richard Beddie on 027 5205744 or Make Lemonade editor-in-chief Kip Brook on 0275 030188.

Photo: Richard Beddie with WHO delegates in Geneva


The end of our innocence


Opinion editorial

By Paul Kench, the Canterbury Police crime services manager (officer in charge, CIB) at time of February 22, 2011 earthquakes

Christchurch – In retirement, I’m reluctant to join the social media world as a commenter, informed or otherwise, however for my own peace of mind I’ve decided to record some of my thoughts, relating to the sickening and fatal events at the Christchurch Muslim mosques last Friday, March 15.

I was privileged in my final years of police service to have significant exposure nationally and internationally to the inner-most workings of the complex worlds of intelligence gathering and investigations in the counter terrorism (CT) space.

I’m not a fan of the labelling definition types of offending as the reality is much of it is straight out criminal behaviour.

Script writers prepare decision-makers with a series of complex scenarios for training and exercise purposes and having been subjected to this in the past.

I have always expressed my opinion that one day New Zealand would be a target for terrorism. The magnitude and scale of what occurred in my own city last Friday has staggered me the most.

Like most New Zealanders, I could only watch and observe on television as events unfolded, albeit with an in-depth knowledge of what would be occurring from the ground floor front line response, to the highest levels of what would be happening at ODESC, which is a secret group which forms at times of national crisis.

Immediate coverage illustrated the danger of the speculative experts and a range of commentators articulating a sound bite or headline that was given as a statement of facts, unchallenged.

The danger is that much of that speculation will be untrue and not factual, however in the minds of those listening opinions formed creating rumours that will not be debunked even once the facts fully emerge.

Media interviews with so called experts and other commentators who feel obliged to comment on areas beyond their stations and subject knowledge are extremely unhelpful and dangerous.

We live in a world where we are constantly bombarded by knee jerk reactions as commentators offer solutions to any manner of issue when the actual problem isn’t defined with any accuracy or proper analysis.

One illustration is uninformed commentary about any potential watchlist. We don’t live in utopia. A watchlist isn’t the panacea that guarantees evil things will be stopped or won’t occur.

Even if someone ticks off some boxes and is on a watchlist, we don’t live in a society whereby law enforcement can automatically remove that someone.

Defence lawyers make their livelihoods on challenging law enforcement policy, procedure, guilt or innocence of their clients, always arguing their client would not conduct themselves in any manner the authorities may be arguing.

There is a reluctance to blame individuals for their own actions. Blame must lay with someone else or some other factor not the individual themselves.

A lone wolf is someone who operates on their own accord, whatever may be occurring in their own mind, sound or otherwise. If the lone wolf doesn’t share their thoughts and actions with someone else the likelihood of any future planning or activity is most unlikely to reach the ears of anyone else and be uncovered.

The key components of any terrorism assessment are the intent and capability of the offender (s). Without one the other won’t happen.

It’s much easy to join the dots after the event and if authorities aren’t aware of something as illustrated above, they cannot magically join those dots unless the subject is a target. In the complex variables of the human mind there is no accounting for pure evil.

The major takeaway for me is that in response to Friday’s events, New Zealanders should be very proud of the New Zealand Police. I know that I am.

The fact that despite the carnage and whatever comes from the background of this evil perpetrator and despicable human being, who has tarnished the name of my great city, was in custody and alive within 36 minutes from when his attack commenced.

Commissioner Mike Bush has shown incredible leadership and public reassurance in that he leads an organisation of many good people, who know what they are about and who will get to the core of what occurred and the why, without speculating but by relying on facts.

Footnote: Paul Kench is a retired NZ Police Detective Superintendent. He had qualified in Australia as a Counter Terrorism Senior Investigating Officer.


Christchurch Muslims in grief, shock


Christchurch  – A member of the Muslim community in Christchurch says the Muslims in the city are in a shock following the terrorist attacks.

Hedayat Najib, head of Business Studies at the Abacus Institute of Studies in Christchurch, says he and his family have been in contact with friends and families.

But they could not make any direct contact with friends who had been shot but survived the shooting, he says.

“I have just made contact with one of our friends who was shot. He is alive and I am heading to the hospital now.

“A friend sent a text just after the attack saying he was injured but communications via text has been difficult.

“My family was immediately thrown into shock and are very scared. My wife Nilab was shaking all night. Our kids were scared and we all slept in the same room locking every door to assure my kids of their safety.

“When I heard the news of Haji Dawood Nabi, whom I have always called uncle, I had to leave the room to cry as we did not want our kids get further distressed. At least two other family friends are dead.

“The atmosphere in the community is that we are all in a state of grief and, at the same time, in shock. We wonder just how such an event can happen in Christchurch, what we call heaven on earth.

“Saying all this, our mindsets towards our shared home (New Zealand) and our other Kiwi brothers and sisters will not change.

“We are all Kiwis and we will stand taller and stronger than before, to combat terrorist. This cancer, which is terrorism, in today’s world does not have religion or colour.

“We need to stand united together and will defy terrorism together by engaging, communicating and embracing each others values’ and contributions.

“The people who commit such atrocities are just criminals who are scared of difference and diversity,” Najib says.

He was an Afghan refugee and came to Christchurch Afghanistan as a teenager. He has a post graduate masters degree from the University of Canterbury.

Najib says his life changed in the early 1990s when the warlords broke into Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan. During the factional fighting that followed many atrocities were committed and about 60,000 Kabulis were killed.


Supervised exercise produces better results, research finds


Christchurch – New research has found that people produce greater muscle strength and body tone when their exercise is supervised compared with unsupervised exercise.

A combined Australian universities’ 16-week trial confirmed the biggest improvements to fitness came with supervised support, ExerciseNZ chief executive Richard Beddie says.

The landmark trial was carried out by Charles Sturt University, RMIT University, La Trobe University, Victoria and Swinburne University of Technology.

Results showed that exercise is important for health and for a healthy workforce and that barriers to exercise need overcoming.

“The 85 trial participants all had access to a gym, but some with regular scheduled supervised contact and others without,” Beddie says.

“It’s important if we want to improve the lives of Kiwis, we need exercise professionals.

“We accept that currently active people don’t need that as such, but given that less than 50 percent of adults in New Zealand are doing enough activity and just on a quarter do less than 30 minutes a week, clearly exercise professionals can help hundreds of thousands of Kiwis to improve their lives and health outcomes though exercise,” he says.

The trial report says that with high rates of global physical inactivity, the environment of many modern workplaces has led to widespread occupational sedentarism and reduced cardiovascular and musculoskeletal demands.

“Such a reduction in occupational physical demand can lead to diminished physical capacity and increase the prevalence of obesity due to energy imbalance,” the report says.

“This is a significant problem that highlights the need to remain physically active, as low cardiorespiratory fitness, poor muscular strength and obesity are each independently associated with increased mortality risk.”

The sedentary workplaces now affect a significant proportion of the global population given that two-thirds of people older than 15 years are employed worldwide, the report says.

Exercise is now the No.1 sport in New Zealand with more than half a million participants and growing research confirms the health benefits of activity for every age, Beddie says.

“In New Zealand we are fortunate to have a registration body for exercise professionals and we strongly advise ensuring anyone you get exercise advice from is registered with the NZ Register of Exercise Professionals (REPs),” he says.

For further information contact Make Lemonade news director Kip Brook on 0275 030188.