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News in brief February 24, 2023

Rain watch

Metservice extended its heavy rain watch for Wairarapa and Tararua from 1am-8pm tomorrow, a total of 19 hours. It said showers were expected to continue yesterday into today before turning to more widespread rain early tomorrow morning, with a possibility of rainfall approaching warning criteria.

80 years since tragic event

South Wairarapa District Council is hosting the 80th anniversary of the Featherston Incident tomorrow. The council said the annual ceremony marked a tragic event which claimed the lives of 48 Japanese prisoners of war and one New Zealand soldier at the former Featherston prisoner-of-war camp in 1943. The council said all were welcome to attend. The event is supported by the Featherston RSA, and invited guests, including representatives from the Japanese Embassy, Australia High Commission, Cowra Shire [NSW], central and local government, and some descendants of the lost soldiers. Waka Kotahi NZTA has advised to expect delays with variable speed restrictions in place due to the event on SH2 near Camp Rd between 10am-2pm. Tomorrow from 10.30am at the Messines layby, including the Japanese Memorial Garden on SH2.

One dead after train incident

Police confirmed one person has died after being struck by a train in Aorangi south of Fielding on Wednesday. Emergency services responded to the incident, near Waughs Rd, at 6pm. Trains in the area were stopped and the road was closed for some time.

New covid vax

The new covid-19 vaccine will be available to people 30 and older from April 1 – about 34,000 people in Wairarapa will be eligible. The Ministry of Health said the new vaccine from Pfizer was designed to be more effective against omicron. The vaccine carries two messenger RNA [mRNA] components of the virus, meaning half of it targets the original covid-19 strain, while the other half targets the BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants. Health Minister Dr Aysha Verall said Te Whatu Ora was in constant contact with health providers and will work with primary care representatives to coordinate the response and rollout.

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