Being selected to represent New Zealand at the International Aerobic Championships has been a dream come true for Dargaville's Grace Christey.
"I'm very excited and a tiny bit nervous... My original dream was to compete overseas representing New Zealand. But now that I have reached it, my new goal is to rank in the top five somewhere in my aerobics journey," said Grace.
Grace says she loves the fun of competing and overcoming all the challenges it provides.
So it's not surprising, with such a great attitude, how this 12-year-old has risen to great heights.
Grace's coach Ashleigh McCaw, from Active Attitude coaching, says this is the first time a Northland athlete has qualified to do this.
"So we hope that the community will get in behind this young athlete to support her with achieving her goals and being a role model for up and coming athletes in our region.
"Grace has an amazing work ethic and is a pleasure to coach and be around. Her constant search for improvements in her performance has helped her to get this far and will be one of her strengths going into her next phase of training for an International competition.
"It is also very exciting for our Aerobics members to be able to see someone in their club training towards this event.
Grace's mum Catherine Christey is very proud of her daughter's achievement. "She has an amazing work ethic and always puts in 110 per cent."
A Givealittle page has been set up to help Grace get to the Association of National Aerobics Championships (ANAC) International Aerobic and Youth Aerobics Championships. The competition is to be held in Phoenix, Arizona in the United States from July 28 till August 3, 2018.
Tuatua boom draws crowds To West Coast - putting toheroa at risk
Shellfish lovers collecting tuatua from an abundant crop this season may be accidentally selecting toheroa - a rare banned delicacy.
Ministry for Primary Industries' Northland team manager fisheries supplies, Stephen Rudsdale, says that after a few lean years there has been a resurgence of tuatua on Ripiro beach, "in large numbers and of good size".
As a result of the crowds drawn to the beach to collect tuatua, MPI has had to bring in extra patrols.
"As well as having the normal patrols by Honorary Fishery Officers we have had patrols by staff from Whangarei in the evenings and early mornings.
"On the whole, people are complying with the rules about not taking or disturbing toheroa, however it is disappointing that there are those that continue to offend," he said.
"Over the last month we have had four instances of people taking more than 50 toheroa, which will likely result in court prosecution, and 7 other instances of people taking less than 50 toheroa who will likely receive infringement notices of $500.
"Toheroa are found in the areas of stream beds and we would recommend that those people gathering tuatua avoid those areas so as not to disturb the toheroa."
Baylys Beach resident Chrissy Mitchell said there are definitely more people than usual collecting shellfish.
"I'm not sure whether locals are good at differentiating them from toheroa, but do know there's been a lot of people collecting them from higher up the beach and they're saying it's tuatua they are getting.
"But my understanding is that tuatua are at very low tide mark and in ankle deep water."
Rudsdale further advised that tuatua are in fact being found at high tide, there is no doubt about that and in some places they are intermingled with toheroa.
There are a few ways in which to differentiate tuatua from toheroa.
* Generally a tuatua has a harder shell
* Tuatua are usually glossier than a toheroa
* The tuatua has a straight edge, which you can stand it up on. Whereas a toheroa shell is more rounded around the back hinge. So a toheroa won't stand up if you put it, on its hinge.
* The older toheroa are generally darker shelled than the tuatua, but when they are juvenile the colours are similar.
The only exemption for collecting toheroa is by having a customary fishing permit.
Going green for gold - Enviroschool Awards
Dargaville Intermediate has just become the first Kaipara school – and only the sixth in Northland – to achieve prestigious "Green-Gold" status through the national Enviroschools programme; a school-wide approach to sustainability.
The last Northland school to achieve the coveted Green-Gold status was Whangarei's Onerahi School in August last year.
Penny Smart, the Northland Regional Council's Kaipara constituency representative, officially presented the Green-Gold award during a ceremony at the 170-pupil school in Dargaville recently.
Councillor Smart says Green-Gold is a significant milestone in Dargaville Intermediate's journey as an Enviroschool.
The regional council introduced the popular programme to Northland in 2004 and there are now more than 90 schools and kindergartens in the programme region-wide.
Councillor Smart is both a former pupil and board chairperson of Dargaville Intermediate (an early member of Northland's Enviroschools programme) and says it was a real privilege and pleasure to be part of the Green-Gold celebration.
Enviroschools' recognition comes in three bands, from the most-often awarded Bronze, through to Silver and the rarest Green-Gold.
More than 250 current and former students, staff and members of the public had attended the Green-Gold celebration and Cr Smart says the regional council greatly valued the work taken on by schools like Dargaville Intermediate.
"It's only through communities working together that we will achieve environmental successes."
She also acknowledged "all of the hard work and time that went into achieving Green-Gold by the school, its co-partner Enviroschools' national body Toimata Foundation, and the region's Enviroschools facilitators".
Susan Karels, the council's Enviroschools regional co-ordinator, says among the school's key strengths is its strong school-wide emphasis on environmental sustainability, its impressive native plant nursery and student-led waste management/recycling system.
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