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A local man has confessed to stripping Tauranga's official flagpole on the Elizabeth St roundabout of its Silver Fern flag yesterday.

The winners of a raft race on the weekend have donated their winnings to charity. The Farmers Rescue Chopper team were first in the river raft race on Saturday, winning a $300 prize.

Fire crews were confronted with 2m flames as helicopters arrived with monsoon buckets to contain a 7-hectare blaze on a rural property in Carterton yesterday.

A woman is in a critical condition after a motorcycle crash near Paki Paki over the weekend.

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A conservation group is "ecstatic" after discovering rare saddlebacks have been breeding in the Bay of Islands for the first time in more than a century.

Police rescued a group of kayakers stranded on the Whirianki River this morning.