PNG’s Star Mountain Plaza, which will host leaders from around the world at the APEC forum, is expected to open ahead of its planned schedule according to developers.
The landmark Star Mountain Plaza conference, accommodation and retail development is a multi-use facility, designed to help PNG attract more overseas visitors in future generations.
Mineral Resource Development Companies (MRDC) managing director Augustine Mano says construction on the venue is now expected to be completed in September – two months prior to the start of APEC.
Mr Mano says the project is on schedule due to the efforts of more than 800 team members who have worked in shifts 24 hours a day to ensure its early completion
This workforce is expected to increase by a further 200 over the next six weeks as the interior fit out progresses.
“It has been truly humbling to see the passion and national pride that our local workforce has brought to this project. Their dedication has helped us bring to a life a project which will showcase the best of PNG to the world’s leaders later this year,” he says
Mr Mano made the comments during an onsite event with local press and stakeholders who also had the opportunity to tour the venue and hear about the handover of the first phase of construction – the hotel and convention centre.
“Our project will be delivered in multiple phases enabling Hilton to gradually assume control, It is with great pleasure that we can officially handover the the first area of the new five star hotel and Kutubu convention centre to Hilton.
“Over the coming weeks, more areas of the development will be handed over in the lead up to the final construction completion date on 13 September 2018,” he says.
Mr Mano says in addition to the conference venue the introduction of the Hilton Hotel brand to the PNG market marks a coming of age for the nation.
“The opening of the 212 room Hilton Port Moresby will have wide ranging and long term benefits for the country.
“The first guests will be welcomed at the hotel soon after the construction is completed,” he says.
Data from independent reports project the Star Mountain Plaza development to bring in more than $235 million Kina in tourism revenue and other economic benefits over a 20 year horizon.
“We are creating a legacy asset for future generations of Papua New Guineans. Along with the economic benefits of building the convention centre itself, we have also had the chance to train the local workforce in a wide variety of trades – something that will benefit the community for years to come,” he says.
Mr Mano says the development has overcome a shortage of skilled local labour by introducing onsite training programmes for its workers and has set a new benchmark for workplace health and safety standards.
“This has been a model construction site guideline by international standards. We wanted to demonstrate how projects should be run and wanted to ensure that Star Mountain Plaza was not only known for its economic benefits to the country, but also its social contribution,” he says.
Workers employed by the company have had free access to healthcare which included vision testing and free glasses for themselves and family members.
“Our hospital screening programme identified almost half of our workers needed prescription lenses for previously undiagnosed vision conditions. By providing them with free glasses we have helped provide a safer workplace environment for them and their colleagues,” he says.
Other workplace benefits included the provision of three catered meals daily, unlimited bottled water and the supply of electrolyte supplements to prevent dehydration. Staff were also offered immediate access to private hospital care paid for by the company.
The completed project will feature over 5600m² of planting, 566m² of artificial turf, water features and hard landscaping more than 12,000 examples of PNG’s flora, planted in one of the one of the nation’s largest ever landscaping projects of its kind.
Mr Mano says it aims to showcase the nation’s rich natural flora in the middle of Port Moresby to world leaders, business leaders and other international visitors for years to come.
For more information visit https://www.starmountainplaza.com/
Forget water, food and shelter – Kiwis now believe WiFi, smartphones, a daily coffee and hot showers are the basic necessities of life according to new research.
The Rinnai Smart Cylinder survey found that almost half (48%) of New Zealanders said a hot shower is a greater necessity of life than the internet (29%), a smartphone (13%) and coffee (10%).
A good soak isn’t a priority for all generations however; more than half (53%) of millennials aged 18-24 ranked WiFi as a greater essential than a hot shower, with just a quarter (25%) of respondents in this age group voting for the latter.
And when it comes to having those light bulb moments, half of Kiwis (50%) felt their bed was the best place in the house to think, with the shower the next most popular place for almost a fifth (18%) of those surveyed. Almost a tenth (7%) said the toilet was the most thought-provoking part of the house for them, while a further six percent said the kitchen.
With winter not far away, almost three quarters (74%) of New Zealanders believe they could reduce their hot water usage if required with millenials more likely (84%) to believe they could conserve water than those in the Generation X or Baby Boomer (62%) age brackets.
When asked what activities they engaged in while showering, singing was the most common with six in ten Kiwis passing the time in this way while washing – another 48% said they listened to music as well. Half (50%) of New Zealanders admitted to sharing the shower with a partner while six percent of respondents said they liked to multitask and ate food while showering.
Debt lead the charge when respondents were asked what they would do with the money if they were to save 10% on their water heating costs. The majority (57%) said they would put this towards paying down some form of debt such as the mortgage or credit card.
However more than a quarter (28%) – and a higher proportion of the youngest and the oldest respondents, said they would spend it on travel, while more than a tenth (12%) said they would go on a shopping spree. Just three percent of Kiwis said they would donate the windfall to charity.
People who hog the shower have been a catalyst for household hot water arguments according to more than four in ten (41%) respondents. The incidence of ‘hot water’ related tension was more likely to have occurred among younger respondents and decline with age.
Rinnai managing director Ray Ferner says as we move away from the traditional Kiwi quarter acre lifestyle, with more people living under one roof, greater pressure has gone on hot water supply.
“Kiwis are now more likely to live in intensified housing environments than past generations but the capacity of the hot water cylinder hasn’t really changed over time to accommodate – their cylinder may be several decades old but the number of people flatting or living together is significantly higher than when their dwelling was first constructed.
“This can mean more pressure on water supply, increased strife amongst household members, especially as they compete for a hot shower,” he says.
The research was carried out in conjunction with the launch of the company’s new Rinnai Smart Cylinder which learns a household’s water usage habits and only heats what’s needed, allowing for lower power bills and less stress on renewable energy resources.
Kiwi programmers have successfully taught a computer to distinguish between a cat’s face and its rear-end in a move developers say will help improve relationships with the notoriously aloof animal.
The team of programmers who created the digital technology spent months training the computer to make the physical distinction.
The three strong team leveraged an artificial intelligence network which can identify objects within images. The developers labelled over 8,000 images showing dozens of different breeds of cats from different angles. They then trained a deep neural network by manually highlighting the unique characteristics of the cat’s features within each image until software could make the distinction by itself.
This field of machine learning technology also has applications in protecting wildlife – for example a computer can be taught to identify a poacher stalking a tiger from a real time video feed streamed from drones – using facial recognition software to identify the animal and a human face in close proximity. The software can then automatically alert authorities with the location – giving them the chance to rescue the animals.
Lead developer David Arcus said while there was a light hearted purpose behind this version of the technology, they hope that others will be inspired to use it for the benefit of animals.
“What we wanted to do was find a fun way to bring cat owners closer to their pet.
“Kiwi cat owners can upload an image of their cat to a free website set up by the developers. If the computer’s AI identifies it as the rear end of a cat, it determines that the owner needs a closer relationship with their pet and will send them a new type of food product called Creamy Treats designed to be hand-fed to cats; thereby giving them more face-to-face time with their pet.
Arcus says while cats can have a reputation for being antisocial, some experts suggest this is a myth. The reason behind this is a natural protection mechanism, where they are always alert to their surroundings and remain constantly onguard – something humans misinterpret as disinterest.
Thousands of Kiwis are set to benefit from a charitable initiative which will see $1million allocated to community organisations that help a range of health, cultural, environment, education and other causes.
An online platform has been launched which allows Kiwis to vote for the charities they feel are most deserving of funding, which will benefit their local community. Anyone can vote for the cause of their choice each day, with $5 provided by the fund for every vote cast.
More than 30 projects were chosen to receive funding from 148 charitable applicants. The applications were received from a diverse range of causes which include a counselling programme for victims of child abuse, air rescue services and an awareness campaign to reduce the number of dog bite injuries among children.
Simon Wickham CEO of ‘The Trusts’ West Auckland says the million dollar charitable initiative is an example of how the model is able to support charities while at the same time provide a model for the sale of alcohol with better community outcomes.
“Most of the profits from liquor sales around New Zealand are retained by store owners or overseas owners says Wickham. Under our model the proceeds are retained in this community owned social enterprise and returned to the community both now and in future.”
“By the end of this month the Million Dollar Mission, in its second year after launching in 2017, will have given back a total of $2million to the community it was raised in,” he says. “The Million Dollar Mission forms one of many ways we’ve been investing in our community for decades.”
The causes were chosen by a panel which included Sir Bob Harvey and former Silver Fern Linda Vagana and local board members who selected the 32 finalists.
Anyone can register one vote each day at milliondollarmission.co.nz until the end of March 2018 or until all funds have been distributed.
The 32 charities vying for donations include: Well Foundation, Royal Road School, 1st Mt Albert – St Jude’s Scout Group, Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust, Auckland Land Search and Rescue, Western Quilters Circle Inc, Gecko NZ Trust, Waitakere Hindi Language and Cultural School, Zeal Education Trust – West Auckland, Piha Surf Life Saving Club, Victim Support Waitakere, Henderson High School, Child Cancer Foundation Incorporated, Fair Food Trust,YMCA of Auckland, The Order of St John Northern Region Trust Board, Ranui Primary School, Kelston Primary School Board of Trustees, StarJam Charitable Trust, Lupesina o Samoa, Family Action, VisionWest Community Trust, Sport Waitakere, Generation Ignite Trust, Te Kura Kaupapa Maori O Hoani Waititi Marae, Ranui 135 Leadership Team, Kelston Boys High School, The Whau River Catchment Trust, New Lynn Rugby League Football Club Inc, Kids Safe With Dogs Charitable Trust, Waitakere Arts & Cultural Development Trust, and Life Education Trust Auckland West.
Hi res image found here
Written on behalf of West Auckland Trusts Services, by Impact PR. For more information or images, please contact Mark Devlin [email protected] (021509060)
Members of the public are being treated to a unique culinary experience from So Good, in the form of an entirely man-made edible pop-up garden at Takutai Square in Auckland’s Britomart this February 8th and 9th. In a concept never before seen in New Zealand, guests will be invited to pluck some very unusual fruit and vegetables from some very special trees.
Already well known for their delicious range of dairy free almond and soy milks and healthier frozen desserts, this latest initiative from the Sanitarium So Good range showcases their latest plant-based products in the form of over 3,000 hand-crafted edible fruit and vegetable replicas, stuffed with a diverse range of ingredients and So Good nut milks, all encased in a vegan white chocolate shell.
At the pop-garden, tasters will be treated to a range of ingenious fruit and vegetable creations, filled with some surprising and delicious flavours, designed to challenge some of the more traditional concepts of what a plant-based diet can look and taste like.
The So Good edible pop-up garden of goodness will be open to the public on Thursday 8th and Friday 9th February, from 11.30am – 2.30pm.