Bay News Bites June 11

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A weekly round-up of news snippets, events and oddities from the Bay of Islands and around the Mid North
Far Northerners will get free guided tours and cultural performances at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds this winter.
Far Northerners will get free guided tours and cultural performances at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds this winter.

In love with Opua

A new community group aims to make Opua a better place to live by beautifying reserves, cleaning roadsides and beaches, and setting up a neighbourhood support network to combat crime.

Called Love Opua, the group has held two public meetings in Opua Hall, electing Brian Hepburn as chairman and Brett Etherton as secretary. Other key members involved in setting up the group are Manuela Gmuer-Hornell and Marie Sharp.

Events organised by Love Opua so far include a beach clean-up, in which 40 volunteers picked up rubbish from the store to Doug's boatyard, Lemon Bay, English Bay, the Colenso Triangle and the roadside from Opua to the Roadrunner Tavern; and a community barbecue on May 25 which was also a chance to study Myra Larcombe's collection of historic photos of Opua dating back to the late 1800s.

last Saturday the griup m,ounted major clean-ups of the picnic area at the top of Opua Hill and English Bay beach.

Love Opua's mission statement is:
Environment: The beautification of reserves, cleaning of roadsides and beaches to make Opua an ideal environment residents would be proud to live in.
Neighbourhood watch: The establishment of and ongoing organisation and operation of a Neighbourhood Watch, in conjunction with the police, to make Opua a safer and more law-abiding place to live.

The group plans to work with the police, Northland Regional Council, Far North District Council, Far North Holdings, Rotary and Lions.

Email to get on the Love Opua mailing list.

Future rock stars

Bay of Islands music fans who want to check out the rock stars of the future should head to the Turner Centre Plaza in Kerikeri on June 20 for the Far North heat of Smokefreerockquest.

Entry to the high school battle of the bands is $15 for adults and $10 for students aged 18 and under. Children aged five and under are free, but only if their tickets are booked through the Turner Centre box office, (09) 407 0260. Doors open at 7pm.

In its 24-year history the Smokefreerockquest has spawned many of New Zealand's most successful bands and solo artists, including Kimbra, Opshop, Ladyhawke, Anika Moa, The Naked and Famous, Phoenix Foundation, The Feelers, The Black Seeds, Nesian Mystik, Bic Runga, Autozamm and Elemeno P.

Treaty Grounds freebies

Far Northerners will once again get free guided tours and cultural performances at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds this winter, with the addition this year of a 10 per cent local discount card for the Whare Waka Café.

The winter promotion is valid from June 1 to the end of September, and is open to all Far North residents (bring ID and proof of residence, such as a library card or power bill).

The Treaty Grounds are currently undergoing a major makeover with new interpretation panels installed in the visitor centre and at the waka shelter. Work is due to start soon on the new National Museum of Waitangi, due to open in late 2015.

Waitangi National Trust chief executive Greg McManus said the winter promotion aimed to encourage Far North residents to visit the Treaty Grounds.

"We're working very hard to ensure our guided tours and cultural performances are of the highest standard and the stories of Waitangi are being interpreted in a meaningful and balanced way. We're keen for local people to come and have look and tell us what they think."

Guided tours run every hour from 10am to 4pm. Cultural performances are in the carved Meeting House at 11am, 1pm and 2pm.

Marine expert to speak

The guest speaker at this Monday's U3A (University of the Third Age) get-together will be former Niwa marine scientist John Booth.

Dr Booth will discuss a proposal by community group Fish Forever for a no-take marine reserve in the Bay of Islands, split into two areas adjoining Urupukapuka Island and Rawhiti Peninsula.

The Rawhiti resident is a world authority on the spiny lobster and the 2012 winner of the New Zealand Marine Sciences Society Award.

Dr Booth's talk will follow the group's AGM at 10am, June 16, at the St John Ambulance Hall on Kerikeri Rd.

Pool meeting

A public meeting is being held in Kerikeri tomorrow to discuss community plans for a an indoor heated pool. The meeting will start at 7pm at the Turner Centre. Currently the town's only public pool is outdoors and open in summer only. See for more information.

Supporting support staff

Bay of Islands College in Kawakawa is holding a special morning tea today [June 11] to acknowledge the contribution of the school's support staff, including teacher aides, office administrators, a librarian and others. Support Staff Day is a national initiative of NZEI Te Riu Roa, the union representing support staff at early childhood centres, primary and high schools.

Wrong general

In a case of muddled generals the BBC documentary Inside Claridges claimed New Zealand Attorney-General Chris Finlayson had stayed at the plush hotel during the London Olympics in 2012, apparently confusing him with Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae.

During the Olympics Mr Finlayson, who is also the Minister for Treaty Negotiations, was in fact travelling around New Zealand, ending up in Kaitaia at the time of the closing ceremony.

"That is not to say Kaitaia doesn't have hotels as flash as Claridges," he quipped.
"In fact, I'm looking forward to the documentary on them."

Do you have news or an upcoming event you'd like to see in this column? Send it to us, including your full contact details, to

- Northern Advocate

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