Bay News Bites: Cowboy film mystery explored

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A weekly round-up of news snippets, events and oddities from the Bay of Islands and around the Mid North
Just a Houhora cowboy, or an actor in a long-lost western movie? A new exhibition in Kawakawa delves into the mystery of the Riders of the Red Manuka. PHOTO / SUPPLIED
Just a Houhora cowboy, or an actor in a long-lost western movie? A new exhibition in Kawakawa delves into the mystery of the Riders of the Red Manuka. PHOTO / SUPPLIED

Planes, trains, cowboys and an unsolved movie mystery are the themes of a new show opening at Kings Theatre Creative this weekend.

Curator Lau'rell Pratt is promising an intriguing mix of Northland artists and cowboy legend in the Kawakawa gallery's April show, part of which is dedicated to a movie supposedly filmed in Northland early last century.

Woodcut by Faith McManus inspired by the Riders of the Red Manuka, a cowboy movie filmed in Northland in the 1920s. PHOTO / SUPPLIED
Woodcut by Faith McManus inspired by the Riders of the Red Manuka, a cowboy movie filmed in Northland in the 1920s. PHOTO / SUPPLIED

Legend has it that the 1912 Zane Grey book Riders of the Purple Sage inspired a western called Riders of the Red Manuka, filmed at Houhora, 50km north of Kaitaia, in the 1920s.

Ms Pratt said investigations at Te Ahu Museum and the New Zealand Film and TV Archive had uncovered photos possibly from the movie shoot but no trace of the film itself. It remains an unsolved mystery.

Included in the show are a series of woodcuts by Kaitaia artist Faith McManus, inspired by tales about the movie, models by Wally Hicks, and works by the likes of Charles Lye and Richard Darbyshire. Real-life cowboy Papa Hau, who lives at Waikare and is approaching his 90th birthday, also features.

After a series of exhibitions showcasing Northland women artists, Planes, Trains and Cowboys is unashamedly male oriented.

Ms Pratt said it would be a fun and interactive show, and hoped it would encourage kids to explore and connect with local history during their school holidays.

Northland identity "Papa Hau" Hereora features in an upcoming exhibition called Planes, Trains and Cowboys. PHOTO / PETER DE GRAAF
Northland identity "Papa Hau" Hereora features in an upcoming exhibition called Planes, Trains and Cowboys. PHOTO / PETER DE GRAAF

The show opens at 11.30am this Saturday, April 16, at Kings Theatre Creative on Gillies St. It will be open 10.30am-4.30pm Wednesdays to Sundays until May 8. Cowboy movies will screen daily at 11am and 2pm during the school holidays.


'Wagon' mystery unravelled

A talk in Kohukohu will unravel the mystery of an artefact displayed beside the main road in Kohukohu, North Hokianga, and how it got there.

A sign next to the rusting relic describes it as a railway wagon from the early 1800s but the truth is far more interesting.

A sign claims this Kohukohu relic is an old railway wagon. The truth, however, is far more interesting. PHOTO / PETER DE GRAAF
A sign claims this Kohukohu relic is an old railway wagon. The truth, however, is far more interesting. PHOTO / PETER DE GRAAF

The sign piqued the interest of Rawene historian Robin Hoare because he knew the country's first railway didn't open until 1863 and the relic's wheels showed it was not a wagon but something self-propelled.

Much research later he discovered the "wagon" started life as a steam-powered tram in Dunedin in the 1880s and, after a long and convoluted journey, ended up years later on the Hokianga mudflats.

Mr Hoare's talk will start at 2pm on Sunday, April 17, at Kohukohu Fire Station. The hour-long presentation will also cover vintage locomotives, trams, New Zealand's vanished coastal steamers and logging tramways in the Hokianga. Entry by koha; proceeds to the fire brigade.


Start your bathtubs

The Bay of Islands Bathtub Classic returns this Saturday, April 16, with a day of high-speed (yes, really) bathtub racing action off Waitangi's Ti Beach.

Opua's Mark Williams guns for the finish line in last year's Bay of Islands Bathtub Classic. PHOTO / Ruth Lawton
Opua's Mark Williams guns for the finish line in last year's Bay of Islands Bathtub Classic. PHOTO / Ruth Lawton

These are not old-school cast iron tubs but light-weight fibreglass versions built into streamlined hulls so they put on a decent pace. That, along with their marginal stability, guarantees entertainment.

Also on April 16, based next to the Bay of Islands Yacht Club, will be round 6 of the New Zealand Offshore Powerboat Championships. These boats really move - the biggest pack 1100hp and can hit speeds of 200km/h.

Bathtub racing starts at 10am with breaks during the two powerboat races starting about 12.30pm and 2pm. The last bathtub race, a dash around the island, will be held around 3pm. There will also be a sausage sizzle and games onshore.

Go to www.bayofislandsbathtubbing.com and nzoffshore.co.nz for more information.


HMS Pinafore sails to Kerikeri

A star-studded performance of Gilbert and Sullivan's classic musical comedy HMS Pinafore is sailing in to Kerikeri's Turner Centre for one show only at 7pm on Wednesday evening, April 13.

Directed by Geraldine Brophy with George Henare as Sir Joseph Porter, Lord of the Admiralty, and Helen Medlyn as Buttercup, HMS Pinafore is a satirical tale of forbidden love, class and identity. Its best-known songs include Little Buttercup and He is an Englishman.

The comic opera, one of Gilbert and Sullivan's most popular, was originally written in 1878.

Tickets from the Turner Centre box office or www.turnercentre.co.nz; call (09) 407 0260.


Hokifest returns

Hokianga's annual wine and kai festival - Hokifest - returns to the Copthorne Hotel in Omapere this Saturday, April 16.

Delicacies on offer will include oysters, rewena and fried bread, kutai, paua and whitebait fritters, raw fish, Hokianga salami and wild pork, all washed down with Northland wines.

Other attractions will include a bouncy castle, craft stalls, Bay of Islands musician Dann Pinkney, Auckland band The Collective and a Tina Turner tribute show. The event, now in its fourth year, will run from 11am-6pm.

Tickets are $28 (under-13s free) from www.copthornehokianga.co.nz or the hotel.


Child poverty talk

An upcoming talk for U3A (the University of the Third Age) in Kerikeri will explore the real cost of child poverty in New Zealand. The talk, by John Pearce, starts at 10.30am on Monday, April 18, in the St John Ambulance Hall on Kerikeri Rd. All welcome. U3A is an organisation for retired people who enjoy learning and sharing interests.


Hip hop dance show

DDF Dance and special guests the Diamond Divas Dance Crew will perform at the Turner Centre Plaza this Friday, April 15, to mark the end of an eight-week hip hop dance course. Doors open at 6pm; the show runs from 6.30-8.30pm. Tickets are $8 or $25 per family; door sales only.

DDF Dance Studio will perform at the Turner Centre in Kerikeri this Friday. PHOTO / PETER DE GRAAF
DDF Dance Studio will perform at the Turner Centre in Kerikeri this Friday. PHOTO / PETER DE GRAAF


Winston to speak at Grey Power meet

Northland MP and NZ First leader Winston Peters will be the guest speaker at the Kerikeri Grey Power AGM at 2pm on Thursday, April 14. The meeting will be held at Kingston House, on Hone Heke Rd, and will end with refreshments about 4pm.


Fifty years a firefighter

Kaeo fire chief Lindsay Murray will be honoured this Saturday for 50 years of volunteer service to his community and the New Zealand Fire Service. He will be presented with a rarely awarded Double Gold Star medal at a function at Kaeo Rugby Club.


Waitangi's 3500 friends

A scheme to give Northlanders free admission to the Waitangi Treaty Grounds now has 3500 members.

The Friends of Waitangi scheme was introduced in October 2014. Far North residents pay a one-off $5 for a card giving them free entry to the grounds, guided tours and cultural performances; other Northlanders pay $20.

Far North Mayor John Carter the first person to receive a card; other prominent members include Prime Minister John Key and Culture and Heritage Minister Maggie Barry.

Apply for a card at the Treaty Grounds main entrance. Bring ID and proof of address.


New show at Village Arts

A new exhibition, Forest Margins by Beverley Cox, is opening at 11am this Saturday, April 16, at Village Arts Gallery in Kohukohu.


Help Renee fundraise

A Year 13 Bay of Islands College student is looking for part-time work to help pay her way on an exchange with Native American schools in Canada and the USA.

Head girl Renee Paraha is one of more than 40 students from the bilingual unit, Reo Rua, who each need to raise $3000 for the trip. As well as visiting schools on Vancouver Island and in California they will perform kapa haka during a cruise down the US west coast and possibly at Disneyland.

Renee is looking for part-time work on Friday afternoons, Saturday or Sunday mornings and all holidays. She can work in the Whangarei, Kaikohe and Kawakawa areas.
Contact her via renee.paraha@gmail.com, 021 213 8417 or her Facebook page.


New website

Conservation group Bay Bush Action has a fancy new website built by one of the trustees at www.baybushaction.org.nz. The new site includes up-to-date body count of pests killed so far in the forest behind Paihia and Opua, details of the group's many and varied projects, maps of its trap lines, and more.


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 baynews@northernadvocate.co.nz.

- Northern Advocate

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