June 25 edition: A weekly round-up of news snippets, events and oddities from the Bay of Islands and around the Mid North

Light up your night

Oromahoe School's Light Festival, one of the Mid North's winter highlights, is returning on Saturday, June 28.

The evening event celebrates Matariki, the Maori New year, and is the school's main fundraiser. It is now in its sixth year.

Organising committee member Melanie Vezey said the school was working to create a magical atmosphere with lighting, lanterns and costumes. Mother Nature had been asked to play her part by providing a crisp, clear night.


Entertainment will start at 4pm with a ki-o-rahi demonstration and games, followed by roaming performers, music, a school performance and a fire show. Warming food will include hot soup and drinks, a hangi, wood-fired pizza and plenty of sweet treats.

The festival's own "rainbow money" can be used to pay for food and games.

A lantern walk will wind its way through the school grounds and the evening will end around 8pm with the release of flying lanterns from the school field.

Visitors should dress warmly and bring a torch. Parking is on Oromahoe School Rd, off State Highway 10 between the Paihia turnoff and Pakaraka, and in an adjacent paddock.

Healing hands

A reconstructed Maori fishing village near Kerikeri's Stone Store is hosting a group of healers, herbalists and weavers for the next three months.

Rewa's Village, originally built in the 1960s to raise money for a legal battle to save Kerikeri Basin from development, was handed over to local hapu Ngati Rehia last year.

With regular tourists few and far between in winter the hapu has allowed its members to use the village to share traditional skills and knowledge.


Rawi Pere, of Te Tii, said she was working closely with her whanau and hapu to demonstrate traditional healing methods and artisan practices to locals and tourists.

"It's an opportunity we've been given that's made us proud and humble at the same time. It's also a responsibility which we take very seriously."

The group moved in on June 18 with their first visitors a couple from France, who called in to see the village and received a mirimiri, or Maori massage, instead.

Mrs Pere and her husband Ngawati Hei Hei run Nga Ringa Wairua (Hands of Spirit), offering rongoa (traditional medicine), healing massage and blessings.

Future stars perform

The Bay of Islands' up-and-coming rock stars will be performing at Kerikeri's Turner Centre tomorrow evening. Be Free's Winter Community Concert will kick off at 7pm in the Plaza for a $4 entry fee.

Among the high school bands playing will the winners of last Friday's inaugural Far North Smokefreerockquest, Cypruss, who started playing together through the Be Free music and lifeskills mentoring programme. The scheme is currently offered at Kerikeri High School, Whangaroa College and Bay of Islands College.

Millionaire audition

Kerikeri woman Pam Harrison-Boyd flies to Melbourne on Friday to audition for the Australian TV show Millionaire Hot Seat.

Ms Harrison-Boyd applied to go on the show, which follows a similar format to Who Wants to be a Millionaire?, about seven years ago when she was living in Western Australia. She was somewhat surprised when her name finally came up for an audition a few weeks ago.

She will arrive on an early flight from Auckland, attend the audition, then fly home later that day. The colourful Ms Harrison-Boyd is due to be ordained an Anglican priest later this year.

Cream pie the teacher

Russell School is holding an old-fashioned school fair from noon this Sunday, June 29.

Attractions will include a hangi, sack races, music, spot prizes every five minutes, best dressed dog and fancy bike competitions, coconut shy, toffee apples, bouncy castle, hot rods, and a chance to throw cream pies at the teachers.

The school is raising money to provide a healthy cooked lunch one day per week for all 80 children, to be cooked by the pupils themselves with help from community members, as well as an upgrade of resources and technology.

Children at the school are already provided with fresh fruit, bought with the proceeds from a monthly market.

Hip hop dance alert

The weekend of June 27-29 will be a feast for fans of hip hop dance in Kerikeri.
Demonstrate Da Flow Dance Studioz is presenting a series of events, starting with a dance showcase at the Turner Centre Plaza from 6pm on Friday, June 27.

Guest performers will include Chikhayla and Esera from The Royal family, current holders of the title of the world's best hip hop dance crew, and the All Out Crew from Kaitaia. Entry $6 or $20 for a family.

On Saturday Demonstrate Da Flow Dance Studioz will hold a free open day at 12 Sammaree Place (off Mill Lane) from 10am-3pm with music, workshops and talent quest; while on Sunday Chikhayla and Esera will hold a meet and greet and a workshop from noon to 2pm, also at 12 Sammaree Place. The workshop will cost $10.

Kerikeri planting day

Community groups Living Waters and Vision Kerikeri are holding another planting day along the banks of the Wairoa Stream on Saturday.

Anyone who wants to lend a hand putting another 1250 plants into the ground is invited to meet at the Cobham Rd bridge at 10am with a sharp spade and suitable footwear. The stream is just five minutes from central Kerikeri.

The new plantings will extend the areas done last winter when about 40 volunteers planted 1800 trees, shrubs and plants along 500m of stream bank on either side of the Cobham Rd.

The groups' long-term aims are to improve public access, improve water quality and create a 12km wildlife corridor from Kororipo Pa to Mt Pokaka.

Learn about arthritis

Arthritis New Zealand is holding a seminar, a workshop and a drop-in session in Kerikeri early next month.

The first is a seminar on living with arthritis, from 10am to noon on July 2, followed by an informal drop-in from 1-3pm where visitors can bring questions and have a chat.

A workshop from 10am to noon on July 3 will focus on pain management. Call 0800 663 463 for more information. Entry is free but donations welcome.

Far North spots make top 10

Three historic sites in the Far North have been named among the nation's top ten landmarks in TripAdvisor's Travellers' Choice Awards.

The travel website's list of top landmarks is decided by visitor and tourist votes, ranking Kerikeri Mission Station, which includes the Stone Store and Kemp House, in fourth place. Sixth was Russell's Pompallier Mission and eighth the Treaty House and Grounds at Waitangi.

Kerikeri Mission Station and Pompallier House are cared for by Heritage New Zealand, formerly the Historic Places Trust, while the Treaty House is maintained by the Waitangi National Trust.

New Zealand's top landmark was Olveston House in Dunedin; the world's number one was Machu Picchu in Peru.

Volunteer awards

A total of 57 volunteer and community groups have been nominated for this year's Trustpower Far North Community Awards.

Entries for the awards, which are run in partnership with the Far North District Council, closed on June 6.

Winners in five categories - heritage and environment, health and wellbeing, arts and culture, sport and leisure, and education and child/youth development - will be named at Kaitaia's Te Ahu Centre on July 28.

The supreme winner will take home $1500 and will represent the Far North at the national finals in Wellington in March 2015.

Do you have news or an upcoming event you'd like to see in this column? Send it to us, including your full contact details, to baynews@northernadvocate.co.nz.