Forestry worker named

Police have released the name of a man killed in a forestry accident near Kaikohe on Monday. He was 32-year-old forestry worker Sydney Hobson from Awanui who died while felling trees on a forestry block off Mataraua Rd, about 20km south of Kaikohe about 2.50pm. WorkSafe NZ is investigating and the death has been referred to the Coroner.

Tree blocks highway

Kawakawa firefighters had an early wake-up call yesterday when an overnight storm brought down a large tree across both lanes of State Highway 1.


The incident occurred about 3.50am near the Pakaraka weighbridge. However, fire chief Wayne Martin said it appeared a forestry crew heading to work early got there first, because when the brigade arrived the tree had been neatly sawn up and moved off the highway.

Firefighter steps it up

One of the fastest firefighters in Saturday's Sky Tower Challenge was a former Kaitaia woman now working for Auckland Airport Fire Rescue. Jessica Neho scaled the Auckland landmark's 1103 steps in 14 minutes and 16 seconds, making her the third fastest woman in the country and putting her just seconds behind Otara's Rebecca Wright, who clocked this year's best time of 13m59s.

The former Kaitaia College student qualified as an aviation rescue firefighter in 2015.

Burglars run out of petrol

Whangarei police officers didn't have to look far to catch a pair of burglars whose vehicle ran out of petrol just as they were making their getaway.

Police say the "boneheads" seemed to forget to check their fuel gauge as they left a house on Whareora Rd on Monday with the homeowner's television, home brew supply and a CCTV camera. "We found them high-tailing it away from their vehicle just down the road from the burglary," they said in a Facebook post.

"Sometimes we have to work hard to solve a crime and investigate the matter to the n-th degree. But sometimes, like yesterday, they fall into our laps." Police said images from the stolen CCTV camera were also reviewed for evidence.

Forest block sold

Hours before the deadline to secure a 112-hectare Wekaweka Valley block, the Native Forest Restoration Trust (NFRT) was still $9000 short of its $185,000 target.

At the last minute the public came up with the money needed to seal the deal - through a Givealittle page which ended at midnight on Monday. The outstanding native forest block was offered to the trust to buy before the owners put it on the general market. The NFRT hopes to take ownership within the next few weeks, manager Sandy Crichton said.

Community awards

The 2017 Trustpower Far North Community Awards will be held at Te Ahu in Kaitaia from 5.30pm on May 23. The volunteer group that wins the supreme award will receive $1500 and an all-expenses-paid trip to the national awards in Queenstown in April 2018.

Last year's supreme winner was Paihia-based Bay Bush Action Trust, which came second at the nationals.