Kerikeri blooms

Kerikeri is in the running for the title of New Zealand's most beautiful large town in the Beautiful Awards later this month.

The other finalists are Feilding and Cambridge with the winner due to be announced in Hawke's Bay on October 13 as part of the Keep New Zealand Beautiful conference.

The finalists for most beautiful small town are Greytown, Whirinaki and Raglan; while Napier, Masterton and Tauranga are competing for the title of most beautiful city.

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The 12 other award categories include tidy Kiwi, best community group and best loo.

Unpredictable weather

Heading into the second month of spring, 135km/h gusts of wind and 25.4mm of rain was not what most had anticipated. Over the weekend, Northland experienced a flurry of southwesterly winds and speckled showers. Whangarei had the most rainfall, with 25.4mm. Kaikohe followed close behind with 22.4mm and Kerikeri with 21.6mm.

The heavy downpour arrived alongside peak gusts of wind of 135km/h early Sunday morning at Cape Reinga and 104km/h at 2pm, Sunday, in Kaikohe. The strong winds are expected to die down in the next couple of days and the rest of the week is looking to be dry and sunny.

Party fallout

A party held when the hosts' parents were away got out of hand in Kerikeri on Saturday night, ending in an assault on a 16-year-old girl and multiple callouts for police. Sergeant Haydn Korach, of Mid North police, said the Hone Heke Rd party tied up police resources for "a couple of hours" and a 16-year-old girl was treated by St John Ambulance staff after she was beaten up while leaving the venue.

The hosts did the right thing by shutting down the mostly under-age party and trying to send everyone home, though it would have been better if they hadn't organised the party while their parents were away, he said. Police were called back later in the night when an altercation between occupants of the house and people who had been at the party earlier in the night turned physical.