Friday, June 6, 2008
Matariki. What is Matariki in New Zealand?
Matariki is a Maori (or originally East polynesian) name for a group of stars also known as the Pleiades star cluster of the Seven sisters; and what is referred to as the traditional Maori New Year.
When is the Maori New Year? It is marked by the rise of Matariki and the sighting of the next new moon. The pre-dawn rise of Matariki can be seen in the last few days of May every year,and the new moon rising in early June - this year (2008) it falls on 5 June.This marked the time for traditional planting of food.
With the renaissance of Maori culture there is now added interest in traditional and historical events in Maori culture such as Matariki, which is after all the southern hemisphere new year.
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Wednesday, June 4, 2008
Air New Zealand aims to have at least 10 percent of its fleet running on environmentally sustainable fuels within five years.
A test flight of a Boeing 747-400 fuelled with second generation biofuel extracted from the jatropha plant will depart from Auckland in August or September.
Rob Fyfe, Air New Zealand CEO, says the airline is growing increasingly confident that commercial quantities of environmentally sustainable fuels that meet all the airline's stringent criteria will become available over the next few years. He says studies have already shown that sustainable fuels can lead to a significant reduction in carbon emissions with a 40-to-50 percent lower carbon footprint on a life-cycle basis.
Mr Fyfe says jatropha is unlikely to be the only fuel that Air New Zealand tests.
The jatropha oil Air New Zealand is sourcing comes from South Eastern Africa (Malawi, Mozambique and Tanzania) and India and the airline says it was sourced from seeds grown on environmentally sustainable plantations.
Jatropha is a plant that grows to approximately three metres high and produces seeds that contain inedible lipid oil that is used to produce fuel. Each seed produces between 30 and 40 percent of its mass in oil and jatropha can be grown in a range of difficult conditions, including arid and non-arable areas.
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