Each weekday The Front Page keeps you up to date with the biggest news in New Zealand. Today, firefighters are working round-the-clock to battle the Tasman blaze while another fire breaks out at nearby Rabbit Island, Brian Tamaki tells followers at Waitangi a 'new breed of Māori' is rising up, a man is sentenced for punching a waitress over a gravy incident, and scientists discover two new extinct penguin breeds. Hosted by Juliette Sivertsen.

Firefighters desperate to control the massive Tasman blaze are now battling a second fire in the region, at Rabbit Island.

The initial fire in Pigeon Valley started yesterday afternoon but doubled in size overnight, spreading to cover 1870 hectares within a perimeter of 20km by 3am.

A Civil Defence state of emergency has been declared.


Sources have told the Herald the fire's thought to have been sparked by a farmer ploughing his field.

The Nelson District Council says 170 homes have been evacuated near Pigeon Valley.

Further evacuations are now taking place near Rabbit Island.

Nelson Tasman Defence Group controller Roger Ball says anybody evacuating should take essentials like food, water, clothing, medicine and pets.

Those self-evacuating were advised by Fire and Emergency New Zealand to secure their homes to prevent ember entry.

That meant taking all flammable items like outdoor furniture inside.

For more on this story, click here and tune in to Newstalk ZB for all emergency updates

It's an emotional time for the Mayor of the Tasman District who lives in Eves Valley, which has been evacuated.


Fighting back tears, Richard Kempthorne thanked all those who are working on such an immense job in his region.

He says it reinforces to him how important volunteer firefighters are.

The region is desperate for rain, after next to none for more than 40 days.

MetService meteorologist Rob Kerr says the area could see some rainfall relieve the area on Sunday but the front heading there may lose its power before reaching Tasman.

He says this January had been "remarkably" drier than last year.

Only 6mm of rain had fallen in January 2019, down from last year's total of 220mm when two tropical cyclones battered the country with rain and wind.

In contrast, the average rainfall for January in Tasman was between 60mm and 70mm.

For more on this story, click here
Nelson MP Nick Smith rushed back from Waitangi Day duties in the Far North to lend a hand in the fire ravaged district.

He says it's the most serious fire they've has experienced in decades and people need to be patient.

Smith says it'll take days before the fire is fully extinguished.

For all emergency updates about the Tasman fire, tune in to Newstalk ZB
Several hundred people gathered at Waitangi today to hear the Destiny Church leader tell them a "new breed of Māori" was rising up.

Speaking at Ti Tii Marae at Waitangi, Bishop Brian Tamaki said the Destiny Church-linked Tu Tangata Man Up programme could have a future in politics.

The Tu Tangata movement is a 15-week programme aimed at helping men understand adverse behaviour, with about 70 groups operating across the country.

Tamaki ruled out standing in politics personally, saying his higher calling required he focus on spiritual matters.

Tamaki's sermon held a theme of renewal and change.

He talked of the present being swept aside by the future and posited Destiny and the Tu Tangata Man Up movement as the change which was coming.

For more on this story, click here
Thousands enjoyed the national day in sunny weather at the Treaty grounds in Waitangi.

A moment of silence was observed just after 5am this morning.

Hundreds attended the Prime Minister's barbecue in Waitangi, which followed a peaceful and moving dawn ceremony.

And Ardern says every New Zealander should spend at least one year celebrating February 6 in Waitangi.

She says this is a place to reflect on the progress they've made.

For more on this story, click here
It's a key part of our indigenous culture but there are concerns the haka is being over commercialised.

Massey University researchers say groups all over the world have been taking advantage of our culture.

And with the Rugby World Cup just around the corner they're worried the use of the cultural symbol for marketing and promotional purposed will be heightened.

Lead researcher Jeremy Hapeta says often these promotions aren't very complementary of the taonga.

He says it's not matter of not using it, but doing so properly.

For more on this story, tune in to Newstalk ZB
A 58-year-old man has been fined and ordered to carry out community work, after punching a Dunedin waitress because she didn't put gravy on his meal.

Arthur Duncan Mathieson was given the gravy on the side instead, so he hit the waitress who served him, twice.

He's pleaded guilty to assaulting a female in the Dunedin District Court.

The attack could have warranted a short prison term, but Mathieson was instead sentenced to 100 hours' community work and ordered to pay the victim $500.

Judge Turner said it was an unprovoked assault.

For more on this story, click here
ASB's reported a net profit of $630 million for the six months ending 31 December.

That's a 6 per cent increase on the profit made during the same period the previous year.

But despite the solid result, and a sound New Zealand economy, the bank raised some concerns that appear on the horizon.

ASB chief executive Vittoria Shortt says they've observed a cooling housing market, weaker business sentiment and softening immigration, combined with an uncertain global outlook.

ASB saw loan impairment expenses, which includes write-offs for bad debts, increase by 73 per cent to $45 million.

Shortt says overall they've seen stable portfolio quality, supported by steady economic conditions, but also a slight increase in provisioning for their rural portfolio.

The ASB result comes off the back of the Australian Royal Banking Commission report, which slammed the conduct of the banking industry for its treatment of customers.

For more on this story, click here
Kiwi scientists have discovered two new extinct penguin species.

The University of Otago research sequenced DNA and examined hundreds of prehistoric bones - discovering the recently extinct penguins from the Chatham Islands.

Lead author of the study, PhD student Theresa Cole, says evidence suggests the two species lived on the islands up until the last few hundred years - becoming extinct only when humans arrived.

Says she suspects humans hunted them.

Cole says the study has also brought an improved understanding of when and why penguins evolved.

For more on this story, tune in to Newstalk ZB

That's the Front Page for today, Wednesday February 6, making sure you're across the biggest news of the day. For more on these stories, check out The New Zealand Herald, or tune in to Newstalk ZB.

You can subscribe to this podcast on Apple podcasts here, iHeartRadio here, and Stitcher here.

If you like to stay up to date on social media, you can find host Juliette Sivertsen on Twitter.