TREEmendous prize

A Northland school is among 10 nationally in the running to win a $10,000 TREEmendous outdoor learning space next year. Oturu School, from Kaitaia, is in the final 10 and will find out in November if it wins the prize. If it does, it only needs to look at another Northland school for what it can do. Hukerenui School won the prize this year and had a TREEmendous planting day last month, hosted by Bug Man Ruud Kleinpaste where hundreds of trees were planted and the kids learned more about nature.TREEmendous, a joint initiative between the Mazda Foundation and Project Crimson, teaches children about the importance of caring for the environment through the development of amazing outdoor learning spaces that encourage teachers and students to reconnect with nature.
The 10 schools will now submit a detailed plan of their proposed outdoor learning area. Then the judges will select four schools to receive a $10,000 TREEmendous event in 2020. The remaining six finalists will receive $500 towards their projects.

Walking track reopens

A South Hokianga walking track which has been closed because of the threat of kauri dieback disease will reopen today after an extensive upgrade and the installation of shoe-cleaning stations. Waiotemarama Track, which starts at Waiotemarama Gorge Rd, near Waimamaku, and climbs into the Waima Forest, will be reopened at 10am in a ceremony led by Te Roroa and the Department of Conservation's Kauri Coast office.


Police op enters 3rd day

A police operation in Northland entered its third day yesterday, but police are still not revealing any details about it. On the first day, police closed in on two properties on SH14 at Wheki Valley. It's believed officers finished their search of one property on Tuesday evening. Officers at the scene said they were unable to comment. In a written statement, police were said they were carrying out multiple pre-planned search warrants in Northland as part of an ongoing operation.

Road spikes used

A 30-year-old Paihia man who had outstanding warrants for his arrest and was a disqualified driver allegedly led police on a pursuit before his escape plan was thwarted by road spikes. Whangārei police Sergeant Mohammed Atiq said the driver was spotted just before midnight on Monday on SH10 near Oromahoe. The driver allegedly failed to stop but road spikes laid out on SH1 near Pakaraka punctured the tyres and forced the driver to stop. Police said when officers searched the vehicle, a firearm was found. The man faced charges of failing to stop, driving while disqualified, unlawful carriage of a firearm, threatening to kill and conspires to deal methamphetamine. The man appeared in Kaikohe District Court on Tuesday and was remanded in custody until his next appearance.