Kiwi attractions

Diving at the Poor Knights Islands is one of the New Zealand highlights in a new book about adventure travel destinations by one of the world's biggest travel publishing companies.

Lonely Planet's Atlas of Adventure describes activities in 150 countries with the 12-page New Zealand chapter listing Te Paki Coastal Walk around Cape Reinga, paddling in the Bay of Islands, and in particular diving in the Poor Knights Islands Marine Reserve, " rated by Jacques Cousteau as one of the world's top 10 dive sites, with huge caves, arches, tunnels and sheer cliffs to explore, excellent vis and myriad marine species", though the islands are mistakenly placed just 800m offshore.

The book also urges divers to check out the wreck of the Rainbow Warrior, blown up by French secret agents, at the Cavalli Islands.

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No parole for thief

Ministry of Transport fraudster and former Far North District Council manager Joanne Harrison has been declined parole at her first application. The Parole Board said Harrison, 50, "continues to impose an undue risk to the safety of the community".

A full written decision would be released next week. Harrison will be considered for parole again in March 2018.

Earlier this year, Harrison was jailed for more than three years for fraudulently taking $726,000 from ministry accounts she controlled while working as a general manager. She was a senior manager at the FNDC from June 2007 to October 2008.

Nursing course info

NorthTec is offering special information evenings for people wanting to become nurses.
NorthTec's Bachelor of Nursing programme is based at its Raumanga campus and is perfect for those who have commitments that make it difficult to move away from home and need the flexibility.

Special information evenings will take place on October 10, from 4.30pm at the Kaitaia campus at 6 Oxford St and October 12 from 5pm at the Raumanga campus in Raumanga Valley Road (Gate 1). To apply for the course, basic requirements include having completed NCEA Level 3 with university entrance, being up to date with all vaccinations and immunisations, and obtaining a current first aid certificate.

Waipoua switches on

A joint venture between Vodafone and Uber Group now means that the Waipoua Forest Visitor Centre has full 3G mobile phone coverage. Uber Group, who have been providing fast broadband to the area, provided a separate broadband connection for phone traffic while Vodafone provided the "sure signal" device.

Locals and tourists can now get a decent Vodafone signal up to 150 metres from the visitors centre so long as they have a 3G or 4G capable phone. Over 30 mobile calls can be connected at the same time. Previously the nearest cellphone coverage was 8km away and the staff at the centre were excited to have coverage.