Blocked chimney sparks alert

Kaikohe firefighters had to force their way into a Tawanui Rd home about 11.40am on Wednesday when neighbours reported the house was full of smoke and the smoke alarms were going off. Fire chief Bill Hutchinson said no one was home so the brigade had no choice but to force entry. It appeared the smoke had been caused by a wood burner with a blocked chimney, sending the smoke inside instead of out.

Rescued turtle set free

A hawksbill sea turtle found emaciated and weak near Dargaville more than two years ago will be released into the sea about 1000km northeast of Cape Reinga tomorrow. The turtle, named Koha, is aboard the Niwa research ship Tangaroa, which left Auckland yesterday for a 20-day scientific expedition in the area, about 1000km northeast of New Zealand. The plan is to release Koha tomorrow near Raoul Island, providing the weather is calm. Koha has been nursed back to health at Kelly Tarlton's aquarium since found more than two years ago. The species, which can grow up to 1m long and about 70kg, was hunted to near-extinction because of its attractive shell and now faces the threat of ocean pollution and habitat destruction.

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Tribunal hearing extended

Two extra days have been confirmed for the Waitangi Tribunal Hearing into the Crown's recognition of the Ngatiwai Trust Board's deed of mandate. The extra hearing time is needed after time ran out at the three-day hearing held at Whangarei's Toll Stadium earlier this month. The additional hearing time is scheduled for Thursday, December 1 and Friday, December 2 at the Waitangi Tribunal offices in Wellington.