Sara Dajani                                          03/05/17                                                             James Aspey

By Sara Dajani

James Aspey didn’t speak for an entire year to raise awareness for “the voiceless victims of our planet – the animals.”

The animal rights activist had a one-hour speech at the Vegan Food Fair held at Alexandra Park in Epsom on April 23.

The 29-year-old Australian said he didn’t speak for 365 days from 2014 to 2015.

During this time, Aspey biked 5000 kilometres across Australia to prove that vegans are also capable of being healthy and fit without eating animal products.

In 2015 he ended his year of silence by speaking on Australia’s Sunrise show.

Since then, Aspey has given over 150 speeches about animal cruelty and the advantages of starting a vegan lifestyle.

He told the Auckland crowd that he was diagnosed with leukaemia at 17 years old, but overcame it after chemotherapy lasting three years.

This made him start researching about health and was shocked to learn that it is not sustainable or necessary for humans to consume animal products to be healthy.

“We say that we love animals and are against animal cruelty, yet we pay people to mutilate, torture and slaughter animals… it’s not because we need them for our health, it’s because we like the way they taste” Aspey said.

“You don’t need to be a particular religion, or care about your health, or even be an animal lover. I wasn’t. You only need to agree on one thing to be vegan, that causing unnecessary harm to animals is wrong…” Aspey said.

A passionate vegan at the fair named Sam Lahood said that Aspey’s speech helped generate discussion about the mistreatment of animals.

Sam Lahood speaking about veganism

Chris Huriwai who also spent his day at the fair said that the speech has inspired people who are transitioning into a vegan lifestyle because it helped educate them on the mistreatment of animals in the agriculture industry.

“…every single person makes a difference, every positive seed you plant will grow into something and drop other seeds… we must do something to make this world a better place” Aspey concluded.


Source: Sara Dajani

The front of the crowd below the stands watching James Aspey’s speech at Alexandra Park


After a whole year of not speaking for animals, James Aspey has given over 150 speeches #animalactivist #fightinganimalcruelty


Sam Lahood


Chris Huriwai


Story found at the Vegan Food Fair


Dajani                                         5th April 2017                                                      Antarctica

By Sara Dajani


Joseph Michael showcased his Antarctica exhibition at Auckland Museum on the 24th to 26th of March, bringing Aucklanders together for a special show.


“Antarctica: while you were sleeping” was a free art installation that involved projected photographs, videos and sounds of icebergs in Antarctica, shown on the Museum’s outside walls.


Visual artist Joseph Michael and his crew collected the photographs, video and sound recordings from their trip in Antarctica.


The art installation took four years to finally bring to life at Auckland’s Museum.


The installation was brought to life by visuals and sounds of icebergs crashing and moving.


Lucie O’Keeffe participated in a VIP event that Michael hosted for the exhibition on the 25th of March, and said that the experience made her realize that there’s a lot of possible experiences that the world has to offer for us.



“Everyone that viewed the art installation would have opened their eyes to an extraordinary world experience” O’Keeffe said.


O’Keeffe further said that you can hear the icebergs crashing and moving, which added to the ambience of the event and made people look immersed in what they were hearing and viewing.


Michael said that creating the installation was very enjoyable, but one of his biggest challenges was dealing with politics surrounding it.


“Cities can be quite boring in what they let people do” said Michael.


Michael said that one of their ideas to reduce the budget was to just project it on one side of the museum.


However, Michael said that he wanted to project it on all sides of the museum so that the public could fully capture the stimulation of the icebergs crashing.


Michael furthermore said that one of his challenges in Antarctica was only having one boat to share with all the other members of the crew, so he couldn’t take the boat out for the day by himself and take photographs.


O’Keeffe said that during the VIP event, Michael told everyone that he “got to experience a whole different world, and it really opened him up and made him more appreciative.”



Source: Sara Dajani

Auckland Museum on the 25th of March, with still photography and captured videos of icebergs in Antarctica.




Special Antarctica exhibition brings Aucklanders together at Auckland museum #ExperienceAntarctica’sWonders




Joseph Michael


Lucie O’Keeffe



Story found on Facebook events page

Sara Dajani                                  15/03/17                                                        The Halo Project

By Sara Dajani

The Halo Project art installation is encouraging and inspiring young New Zealanders to keep our birdlife and environment healthy by planting native trees.


Auckland’s arts festival has brought about a free installation in Wynyard Quarter called The Halo Project created by three eco-activists, Paul Forrest, Matu Booth and Dereck Tearne.


The project focuses on the idea of continuing the ‘halo effect,’ which means to care for our environment by planting trees to keep New Zealand’s land and birdlife healthy for future generations to come.


Younger children are encouraged to continue the halo effect since Forrest gives every child a free postcard that visits the installation and in exchange, they have to promise to plant their own native tree.



“We can’t have a native healthy bird life unless the land is sustaining it well. New Zealand is the land of the birds… we as human beings should be the guardians of the land for the birds” said Forrest.


The installation has many unique artworks which express the key message of looking after New Zealand’s native birdlife.


Forrest paints shapes on top of Tearne’s photographs in order to portray a 3D image of the birds in motion.


“If the native birdlife is healthy, the land is healthy, that is the basic statement of the Halo Project,” said Forrest.


Tearne explained how over 10 years 283,000 trees were planted on Tiritiri Matangi Island in the Hauraki golf and now the land is full of native birds because of the communities’ efforts to do something positive for our environment.


Since we’re currently in the sixth mass extinction, we must look after our environment “if we don’t do something to reverse the extinction, we are going to be in serious trouble” Tearne said.



Source: Sara Dajani

The Halo Project installation at Wynyard Quarter, where Paul Forrest’s art pieces are displayed and where he creates new art pieces on site.


Help sustain New Zealand’s birdlife and greenery by planting more native trees #TheHaloProject #TheHaloEffect #HealthyEnvironment


Paul Forrest


Derek Tearne



Story found on Auckland council’s website

How much do YOU care for your local community?

The Birkdale and Beach Haven Community House is devoted to ensuring that the community’s individual and collective needs are met, and this is successfully seen from the significant increase in members.

According to it’s annual report, it has been growing larger every year. From April 2015 to March 2016 it greeted over 12,633 people.

The Birkdale Community House, located on 134 Birkdale Road, Birkdale
(Photograph taken by Sara Dajani)

Carla Van Walen is the manager of the Birkdale community house and is constantly striving to ensure that the house is adhering to the community’s needs. Walen described her intense passion for the community house by saying “I love giving back to the community, it’s kinda like a church, but without the religious side of it.”

Walen and the local community flower planting at the Opaketai Beach Haven Gardens opening
(photograph provided by Walen)

The Birkdale and Beach Haven community house is located on the North Shore and has a wide range of 80 groups. Some categories include religious, cultural, exercise, special abilities, language and environmentally friendly groups.

Walen said that after having frequent meetings with other houses, the Birkdale and Beach Haven community house has been concluded to be the most diverse house on the North Shore. They have the most community development which is evident through tasks such as three food drives in the last year to help gather food for people in need.

They have a strong partnership with the Kapatiki Community Facilities Trust that is also situated in the local area and helps them organise relevant events that assist with progressing community growth.
Walen sitting next to Jill from the Kaipatiki Community Facilities Trust and Richard from the Kaipatiki Local Board. Photograph supplied by Carla van Walen

In an in-depth interview that Walen did with thirty members of the community, she received very positive feedback about the community house being very relevant and up-to-date than it used to be.

Walen started a single parents group to ensure that they are supported within the community. After researching four months ago, Walen discovered that 20.8% of individuals living in Birkdale and Beach Haven are two parent families, and 13% of them are single parents. Walen observed that the group has been successful and the mothers have furthered their connections with each other outside of the community house.

Walen explained that there was a young girl who really wanted to do volunteering at the house and that she supported her through that. “She came here on her first day with no shoes and her top hanging down… we managed to rummage around and get her some clothes, and really help her. And she managed to walk away with her shoulders back, feeling really proud of who she was. She’d really learned from that.”

Walen shared that there has been a struggle to maintain group members, in particular with the drumming group that meets every Tuesday. The group started around 10 months ago and cost the Community House a lot of money since there were low numbers of members. However, she said that they partnered with the partners associated with the IHC people and invited them to the drumming workshop. Now it is very active and doing well.

Walen further said that they receive so much enjoyment from social interaction from the workshop. The video below portrays the enjoyment from the members of the drumming class. Walen described it as “really special.”

The drumming workshop which meets up every Tuesday at the community house 

A member of the workshop playing the drums

On there were a few questions posed  by asking local members of the community what groups they use and what they think of the community house. The responses received were very positive, and members of the community utilised a range of groups available.


Joy Brandy was involved in the craft groups

Phillipa Hawken used it for exercise and art groups in particular

Tamara Jenkins joined the zumba classes 

The Birkdale and Beach Haven Community House is a compassionate and devoted constitution which acts as a role model to other community houses situated in Auckland, because of its noticeable devotion and rapid success in helping with the community’s growth.

Word count: 598

Almost the end of this journey…

As I sat in the last journalism lecture for 2016, I had two thoughts going through my head. These two thoughts were the fact that this year has flashed by, and also that I have learned the most in this paper than any other paper I have studied this entire year.

I sat there thinking about how glad I am that I ended up picking journalism this semester. It has taught me so many important and valuable life skills which I will carry on to grow throughout my studies and future career. It has also helped me in other aspects of my life because it had made me more confident in talking to people that I would not usually reach out to.

This course has also helped me realise that there are so many opportunities for the average person to meet new people. This may seem silly and vague, but it is very true. This course has helped me scape my comfort zone and talk to people in the public that I would not usually approach. For example, the class exercises that we did when we had to interview random individuals in the streets of Auckland about their opinion of Donald Trump becoming president of the United States of America really made me realise that there are so many people who are very keen on talking to new people, and these activities also helped me boost my confidence and prepared me for interviewing my interviewee Carla for my own story.


The power of social media for journalists

Social media is one of the fastest and easiest ways for people to communicate with others from anywhere in the world – since at the click of a button you can instantly message anyone which would not be possible if social media did not exist today.

Social media has proved itself to be such an important tool for journalists, especially with the use of Twitter – since they are able to communicate with a large audience of people to discuss the recent news stories with. Jenkins as cited in (Fuchs, 2014) describes social media as a ‘participatory culture’ since it allows the public to be involved in the discussion of certain topics that interest them with other people who also feel the same way. This allows people to be creative and expressive in a discussion of topics that they all have a connection to. Jenkins further says that participatory culture brings about social connection, which means that people involved in the conversation start to care about what the others think about the content. These were some important ideas that were also conveyed in week ten’s lecture.

I definitely use social media websites such as Facebook to engage with others about social issues that catch my interest, this is done by the use of ‘sharing’ news articles and ideas, which then appear on all my friend’s home pages. During this week’s lecture, the lecturer urged us all to be active on Twitter because it is one of the most influential social media websites for social discussion and participation. As a journalist, I will aim to make the most out of the social benefits social media.

My story: Update!

Over the past few days, I have been trying to think of ways that I can refine my story and make it really interesting for people to read.

After my meeting with Carla from the Birkdale Community House a while ago, I knew that I had chosen the right story. Why? Because Carla was so passionate about the Community Project and helping people in the community. I thought that this made her a pretty inspiring role model since she is truly devoted to putting everyone before herself. This is such an admirable trait for a person to have.

The angle I am going to take on my story – is to find out WHY Carla and her team are so dedicated to ensuring that everyone in the community is looked after and cared for. Also, what makes this particular community house special from others in Auckland? The Community House is always changing the groups they have in order to cater to everyone’s needs and wants. I am very happy with my story because I think that it will be beneficial to spread the good efforts that The Birkdale Community House is performing for the community – since Carla and her team are truly making a difference in the community and their hard work needs to be showcased to the public. Their work is truly fulfilling and is something that needs to be widely encouraged within the community to bring about more kindness and compassion amongst people. This seems like a simple idea, but it is something that does often get neglected in everyday life situations.

Spot news

To be a journalist has always excited me – the thought of meeting new people, travelling and writing. I have always thought of it as an occupation that is extremely fulfilling since you are always learning new things, therefore how could you ever get bored of such a fast pace job? I do not think any journalist would say that they hate their job. Why? Because you are always learning about the world and what is going on around you. I have always thought of journalism as one of the most exciting jobs anyone can have.

However, after this week’s lecture on ‘Spot News,’ I realised that I needed to consider the implications of journalism which I had not really thought about before. The lecturer discussed that there are times where you might not enjoy being a journalist as much. For example, when you have to interview a family about one of their deceased family members, which can be a very tricky and tearful situation. As a journalist, you have to act respectably and continue the interview and make sure that you convey accurate information about that person in any article that you print about them. Since your article may be one of the last times that the public will hear about that person, therefore you need to be courteous and thoughtful.

In regards to my story, things are going very well and I am getting excited to finally publish my story in week 12!


News values

This week I had a meeting with Carla Walen (one of the community project leaders) and she gave me a very good overview of the Community Project and the possible things that I could focus my story on. I have come to the conclusion that I am going to focus on the Community Project as a whole, and how it helps many people in the community for different purposes. It is a community project that is always evolving to suit the societies needs. There are many different clubs within the Community house, which include headings such as languages, music, environmental, health, religion, culture, games, arts and crafts and more.

During this week’s lecture on ‘journalism and public relations’, I learned some valuable information about Galtung and Ruge’s news values. These certain values influence how a certain story is presented to the public. These values range from how relevant the event is, to if there is a human interest angle. In regards to my story, I think that my story will be very relevant to the public. Since it focuses on a community project that is aiming to better the lives of everyone in their community. The Community Project is always evolving in order to suit the community’s needs, and therefore the project is very relevant to society. It is one of the first Community Houses in New Zealand and has been operating since 1975, and continues to become more successful over the years.


Blog at

Up ↑