Water restrictions lifted in the Far North

A soggy summer filling creeks and reducing demand for water has prompted the Far North District Council to lift all water restrictions as of yesterday.

The use of garden sprinklers and other unattended irrigation devices was banned in South Hokianga and Okaihau in December when water in the drought-sensitive creeks supplying the Opononi/Omapere and Rawene/Omanaia schemes dropped to worryingly low levels. In Okaihau the problem was high demand, 175cu m per day, coupled with low levels in the town's aquifer.

The wet summer has since seen consumption drop to 145cu m. Fire restrictions have also been lifted across Northland, with the only exception being Zone 1 of the Far North — the Karikari and Aupouri Peninsulas plus the northern sides of Kaitaia-Awaroa Rd and State Highway 10 from Taipa to Awanui — where fire permits are required all year round.

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Careers roadshow

Northland secondary school students will have the opportunity to explore what their next step will be at the 2018 Careers Roadshow. The event, held at Whangarei Boys High School Hall on Wednesday, March 21, will allow young Northlanders and their parents/caregivers to meet more than 30 providers of certificates, diplomas, degrees, apprenticeships and courses. Students from all Northland secondary schools are welcome to attend the Careers Roadshow, which runs from 5pm to 7pm.

Young Farmers compete

The Northland final of the FMG 2018 Young Farmer of the Year competition will be contested on the Kerikeri Domain on Saturday, starting with practical agri-skills challenges and agri-growth interviews at 8am, 11am and 12.30pm, with agri-sports head-to-head challenges at 10.30am and 1pm. The afternoon (1.45-3pm) will see AgriKidsNZ and AgTeen competitions. In the evening everyone will move to the Kerikeri Sports Complex for the quiz, prizegiving and music, with TV personality Te Radar as MC. The finalists include Kawakawa's Daniel Bradbury.

Nature reserve opens

A 112ha nature reserve, part of Wekaweka Forest, which was bought via a public fundraising campaign last year, will be formally opened on Saturday. The crowd-funded purchase was led by the Native Forest Restoration Trust, in collaboration with the Wekaweka Landcare Group. The Wekaweka Valley Reserve, near Waimamaku, which is now permanently protected, will be opened at noon with speeches by key players followed by a guided walk. Take walking boots and warm, waterproof clothing, and car pool if possible because parking will be limited.

Broadband rollout

Chorus has begun the rollout of ultra-fast broadband in Kerikeri, serving more than 2600 homes and businesses. Ed Beattie, Chorus general manager of infrastructure, said fibre provided the broadband equivalent of an autobahn right to customers' door, and would future-proof Kerikeri for the expected continued growth in data consumption for generations to come. Mayor John Carter agreed that installation would connect Kerikeri to the world, and was very important in terms of economic development.