August 2011: Possum pee proves dangerous

By John Cousins


Possums don't feature on the list of the world's deadliest creatures but one living near Katikati should be after it peed on Kauri Point farmer Dennis Wilks.

Mr Wilks had gone outside to check what looked like a possum in a tree when he copped a face full of urine.

He washed it off straight away and thought no more about it until, on holiday a few days later in Australia, he fell ill and then nearly died from leptospirosis.

It turned out that being on holiday was a lifesaver.

"If I'd been at home, I would probably have thought it was the flu and just gone to bed instead of seeking help."

The near-fatal bacterial infection turned a two-week holiday into nearly six weeks in hospital.

A raucous rooster caused horrible headaches for a Mount Maunganui woman who complained the crowing stopped her enjoying a decent night's sleep.

The rooster upset others in the neighbourhood and council noise control was phoned to deal with the boisterous bird. It turned out to be a simple remedy. Although chooks could be kept, roosters were not allowed in residential areas of Tauranga.

A Mount car dealer who assaulted Fair Go journalist Gordon Harcourt ended up with a criminal conviction and $2189 out of pocket.

Alan Spiers, 47, was prosecuted after Harcourt was bashed during filming of an episode of Fair Go that dealt with complaints about Mr Spier's business.

Earlier in the year Harcourt had exposed the car yard for offering $800 for a "repo-ed wreck" which it later put back on the yard for $7000.

Community outrage pressured Western Bay convenience stores into refusing to sell R18 synthetic cannabis weeks before a new law removed the cigarettes from shelves. The ban followed widespread alarm that young people were getting legal highs from the treated herbal cigarettes.

Delivering pamphlets turned into a hazardous occupation when a man was shot in the face by a BB gun.

He felt a sharp pain to the right side of his jaw at the same time as he heard the sound of something going off. It was the second time in two years that someone had taken a pot shot at him.

Police spoke with the occupants of the Robbins Rd house where the shot was believed to have been fired, but a search revealed nothing and neighbours did not see or hear anything.

The South Ridge of Aoraki/Mt Cook was renamed in honour of Sir Edmund Hillary, the conqueror of Everest who spent a lot of his later life before he died in 2008 at the family bach in Waihi Beach. Hillary Ridge also recognised that Sir Edmund was in the climbing party that first scaled the ridge in 1948.

Another respected resident of Waihi Beach, 87-year-old Margaret Clark - the mother of former Prime Minister Helen Clark - passed away in Tauranga Hospital on August 17.

Helen, who heads the UN Development Programme, was called home from New York for the last few weeks of her mother's life.

Sir Paul Reeves, an Anglican Archbishop who became New Zealand's first Maori Governor-General, died on August 14 aged 78. A state funeral was held in Auckland for Sir Paul, the son of a tram driver in the Wellington working class suburb of Newtown who became one of New Zealand's greatest statesmen.

A 24-year-old father of three, Louis Gray-Morgan, was killed instantly in a road accident on August 4 on the road to Katikati.

The member of Tauranga's Filthy Few Motorcycle Club was riding his Harley Davidson when it was involved in a crash at the intersection with Te Mete Rd near Clarke Rd. Six days later police stopped dozens of gang members at a road block as they returned to the pad in Birch Ave after his funeral. The big police presence was passed off by Filthy Few members as "par for the course".<inline type="recurring-inline" id="1003" align="outside" enforce-sites="no" />

Another family was left without a dad when 49-year-old father of five Walter Crosa was killed at the Port of Tauranga on August 15. He was run over by a grader while tar sealing a road at the port.

The month was also marred by the death on August 20 of John Bartley, 50. He perished when a fire destroyed the shed he had been living in on Wairoa Rd.

News that police had been waiting years to hear finally happened when Police Minister Judith Collins announced that the Tauranga Central Station would be demolished to make way for a state-of-the-art replacement.

The new $20 million station was expected to be fully operational by mid-2013.

Netball Bay of Plenty CEO Sheryl Dawson fought back tears when her dream came true with the opening of TECT Arena at Baypark on August 25. The $41 million indoor stadium was the first new major sporting facility to open in the city for about 40 years.

Colour won "hands down" as the most important consideration when women bought a car, according to Tauranga car saleswoman Liz Burbery. Whereas men were concerned with the engine and speed, a Bay of Plenty Times survey showed this mattered to only 13 per cent of women. Their priorities were colour and design (53 per cent) and safety (25 per cent).

Tauranga cancer sufferer Kathryn Wilson called on the Government to regulate sunbeds. Mrs Wilson, who blamed sunbeds for her malignant melanoma, supported the warning letter sent out to New Zealand's 280 sunbed operators and distributors, but felt it did not go far enough.

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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