Driver's lucky escape

A man who crashed through four farm fences, three paddocks and crossed a highway may have suffered a medical issue, police say. The man in his 50s drove off Puketotara Rd about 8am yesterday. His vehicle went through several fences before crossing State Highway 10 and another fence before stopping in a paddock. Fortunately he avoided any traffic on the road and was not injured. The man was taken to Bay of Islands Hospital by St John and police are continuing to investigate.

Tall ships return

The Tall Ships Regatta will be held in the Bay of Islands on January 7. Organised by the Russell Boating Club, the event is the Southern Hemisphere's premiere tall ships race. Boats come from all over the world to take part. Although trophies are awarded for line honours and handicap winners in tall ship and classic invitational divisions, the day is really about catching up with old sailing friends and showing off the Bay's lovingly restored historic boats. Even non-sailors will be rewarded with the spectacle of tall ships and sailing boats dating back to the 1880s.

Dunk the vicar

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Whangarei's Anglican Church vicar Alan Burnett is hunting for his togs as he prepares to get dunked at the parish fair. The church will hold the event on the forecourt of Christ Church at the Regent from 10am, November 19. One of the attractions will be the Dunk the Vicar stall where punters can take a shot at sending Mr Burnett into a large vat of water. Mr Burnett asked for the water to be heated but was politely declined - so is praying for mild weather. For more information, check out the Whangarei Anglican Facebook page, facebook.com/whangareianglican.

Rowing challenge

Whangarei Intermediate students and staff will be on rowing machines for 24 hours next weekend to raise funds for the Starship Foundation. Two student teams, about six girls and four boys in each, and a staff team of six will take part. Participants have been asked to raise $30 each and everyone will row for five to 10 minutes before rotating to the next team member. Staff from New World Regent and members of the Northland Rugby Union will join in and help the students out. The event will run November 18 to November 19, 1pm to 1pm.

Classical jazz blend

Michael Houstoun - classical piano maestro and Rodger Fox - renowned jazz artist will perform two concerts in Northland next year. The pair blend the best of classical and jazz when they play at Kerikeri's Turner Centre on May 5 and Forum North, Whangarei, on May 6. Special guests include vocalist Erna Ferry.

Traffic light work

Construction on a set of traffic lights at the intersection of Maunu Rd (SH14) and Hospital Rd has started. The lights near Whangarei Hospital were a result of two years of work by Northland District Health Board, Whangarei District Council and the New Zealand Transport Agency to improve safety at the intersection. Other improvements will include extending the cycle lanes and median strip. NZTA start work this week with the upgrade expected to be finished in March next year. Motorists could expect some delays.

Housing unit opens

The Tai Tokerau Emergency Housing Trust will open its fourth property, a nine-unit facility in Kamo on Wednesday. The property, previously used by another trust which wound up in early 2015, is on Kamo Rd. Eight families will live in the units, which will be formally opened on Wednesday.