Bay News Bites: Party time as town hits wharf target

By Peter de Graaf

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A weekly round-up of news snippets, events and oddities from the Bay of Islands and around the Mid North
Focus Paihia volunteers working on one of the new seats at the southern end of Marsden Rd. PHOTO/TIFFANY HOLLAND
Focus Paihia volunteers working on one of the new seats at the southern end of Marsden Rd. PHOTO/TIFFANY HOLLAND

Russell is celebrating the end of a three-year effort to raise $100,000 for an upgrade of its once rickety wharf.

Back in 2011 the wharf, described by townsfolk as Russell's lifeline, was in urgent need of repairs.

Business owners also wanted it upgraded to tempt cruise ship tenders to come directly to Russell instead of going to Paihia or Waitangi.

However, it was also clear the council couldn't stump up the $360,000 needed - so townsfolk went to the Far North District Council offering to raise $100,000 if the council met the rest. Councillors accepted, the wharf was fixed, and on September 4 a cheque for $100,000 is due to be handed over to Mayor John Carter and Far North Holdings boss Andy Nock.

The handover will take place at a final fundraising dinner for the Wharf Trust at the Duke of Marlborough Hotel. Northland MP Mike Sabin will have few words to say as well. Tickets are $55 or $500 for tables of 10.

Trust chairman and Duke co-owner Riki Kinnaird said it was "time to celebrate and shout out that we've achieved our goal".

Working bee

Fresh from turning a carpark into a people-friendly park and collecting the Far North's top community award, the unstoppable volunteers of Focus Paihia are now turning their attention to the rest of their town's waterfront.

About 30 people turned out on Sunday for a working bee to install seating around pohutukawa trees at the southern end of Marsden Rd. Others provided food.

The seats, and the new streetlights, are in the same style as the street furnishings at the waterfront park known as Horotutu/Our Place.

The latest project is driven by Alfresco's owner Todd Evers.

A sculpture made from weathered, wooden piles has holes which line up with Ninepin Rock, the Waitangi flagstaff and Russell wharf.

Doors open

This Labour Weekend Kerikeri artists will throw open their studio doors to anyone who wants to take a peek inside.

Based on similar initiatives in other parts of the country, the first Kerikeri Open Art Studios Trail - or Koast for short - will see more than 45 artists open their studios to the public.

Visitors will be able to see and buy art, and talk to artists about their work.

Koast chairwoman Ann Winship said the trail would include everyone from professionals to serious hobbyists working in a variety of media and styles. Paintings, carving, glass, ceramics, garden sculpture, weaving, felt and fibre will be for sale.

The trail will feature three group venues for artists without home studios. A guide will be published on the website in early October.

Marae debate

Otiria Marae near Moerewa is hosting a candidates debate this evening to encourage people to become better informed, participate and vote.

Confirmed so far are Marama Davidson (Greens), Kelvin Davis (Labour), Hone Harawira (Internet Mana), Peeni Henare (Labour), Te Hira Paenga (Maori Party) and Willow-Jean Prime (Labour). Shane Reti (National) has also been invited.

Organiser Mylie George said it was important to put Moerewa on politicians' radar, especially in light of the floods and poor response from the government.

The powhiri starts at 5.30pm with a light kai at 6.15pm and the debate due to start at 7pm.

Long service

Two Far North District Council employees have clocked up 20 years of work for the authority.

Contact centre team leader Donna Smith and rating officer Wiremu Matene, both of Kaikohe, were recognised for their long service at a recent council meeting at Kerikeri's Turner Centre.

Long-serving council staff members Wiremu Matene and Donna Smith flanked by Deputy Mayor Tania McInnes and Mayor John Carter. PHOTO/PETER DE GRAAF
Long-serving council staff members Wiremu Matene and Donna Smith flanked by Deputy Mayor Tania McInnes and Mayor John Carter. PHOTO/PETER DE GRAAF

Far North Mayor John Carter said their contribution had been above and beyond the line of duty. "It's people like you who make the wheels of society turn," he said.

Mr Matene said he had started shortly after his 21st birthday, intending to stay for three months. The council had given him the opportunity to become Kaikohe's deputy fire chief, which had in turn benefited the council, and had also given him a wife.

About 30 family members, friends and workmates attended the August 7 ceremony.

Painters needed

The nature reserve and education centre at Aroha Island, in the Kerikeri Inlet, is getting a spruce-up ahead of summer. Painters with time to spare are invited to help work on the main lodge over the next two weeks. Helpers get a first-hand look at Aroha's latest projects plus coffee and muffins thrown in for good measure. Call (09) 407 5243 for more information.

Swag of silvers

A Kerikeri wedding and portrait photographer has come home from a national competition with a swag of awards.

Rachel Jordan won four silvers, one silver with distinction and one bronze in the creative and classic portrait categories of the recent Epson/NZIPP Iris Professional Photography Awards. She also won two bronzes for collaborations with husband Eric in the creative category. All images were judged in a three-day forum open to all NZ Institute of Professional Photographers members.

The Jordans set up their business, Two Little Starfish, after moving here from the US in 2012. Mrs Jordan photographs about 20 weddings a season.

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- Northern Advocate

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