A male diver, believed to be in his 50s, has died following a diving incident near Whangārei yesterday. Police received a report of a diver who did not resurface off the coast of Taiharuru, 32km northeast of Whangārei, just after noon. Police and Coastguard conducted a search along the coast and found the diver deceased about 1.20pm. It is believed that the male was diving together with a second person and that he got into distress while scuba diving off a boat. Police and Search and Rescue teams are currently investigating the incident. The death will be referred to the Coroner.

Rescuer retrieves his mum

One of the Far North Surf Rescue crew that retrieved a paddleboarder blown offshore at Te Kohanga on Saturday was surprised to discover that the rescuee was his mum. She had got into difficulty near the patrolled stretch of beach, and signalled to the guards that she needed help. Last week a crew helped three locals whose fibreglass boat had run out of fuel, "just around the corner" from Te Kohanga.

Sign language courses

Due to the lack of New Zealand Sign Language interpreters, Northlanders have been offered the opportunity to learn the language by enrolling in one of eight classes starting in the Far North on Sunday, February 9. The classes will be taught by experienced NZSL tutor Eddie Hokianga once a week for 10 weeks and are funded by grants from the three Far North Community Boards and the NZLS Board. Classes will be taught in Kaitaia, Kaikohe, Kerikeri and Paihia and the registration fee is $10. Registration can be done at www.eddie.nz.

Crash near Kaitaia

The Ahipara and Kaitaia fire brigades responded to a single-vehicle crash on the Kaitaia Awaroa Rd, just north of the Herekino Gorge, at 9.20pm on Sunday night. The driver, believed to have been the sole occupant, was taken to Kaitaia Hospital by a member of the public before the crews arrived, with injuries that were understood not to be serious. The car had crashed into a bank, bouncing back on to the road, leaving a significant amount of debris that the fire crews cleared.


Animal rescue trust report

The North Auckland Animal Rescue Charitable Trust has reported to the Lotteries Commission, detailing how it had spent the $10,184 granted last year. A total of 66 had been desexed, Janene Stokes said, 27 bitches and nine dogs in Kaitaia, 20 bitches and seven dogs in the Bay of Islands/Hokianga, and three bitches in Dargaville. "We had great support from the vets, but too slow," she said. "We need a desex clinic up there. I'm trying to work out how to make that happen from Auckland."