Kokako voted favourite bird

The kokako has soared past its competition to be voted as New Zealand's bird of the year.

The slate-grey native bird, easily recognised by its black mask and blue wattles, has edged out the kea and fantail to be named Forest and Bird's Bird of the Year for 2016. The kokako picked up 3600 votes in the annual contest, well ahead of the second-placed kea with 2600. The fantail - or piwakawaka - came in third with 1500 votes.

Better broadband in Taupo Bay

Beach-goers, holiday makers, and residents in the Taupo Bay area in the Far North will now be able to take advantage of better connectivity with their mobile phones after Spark switched on its service on the Government's Rural Broadband Initiative (RBI) cell tower.

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Spark is now delivering 3G and 4G on the 700 MHz spectrum to the popular beach spot, to improve mobile services.

Correction

An article last week about a vehicle getting stuck when a driver tried to cross the estuary at Ruakaka Beach incorrectly quoted David Bolland, from the Department of Conservation.

The comments should have been attributed to DoC Whangarei operations manager Geoff Woodhouse.