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

This week promises to be one of the most memorable of the summer with a sailing spectacle, commemorations for a historic battle, a multitude of activities for the kids and the biggest concert Kerikeri has seen in years.

British reggae band UB40 kick off their New Zealand tour tonight at Kainui Rd Vineyard, off SH10 north of Kerikeri, with support acts Herbs and Jason Kerrison of Opshop fame.

If you haven't yet got a ticket you may be out of luck - the show has sold out and the promoters say there will be no gate sales. As of yesterday there were only four tickets to the Kerikeri show on TradeMe and they weren't going cheap.

On Saturday the Bay's best sailing spectacle, the Tall Ships and Classic Invitational, celebrates its 40th anniversary; and on Sunday iwi and hapu from around the country will mark 170 years since the battle of Ruapekapeka Pa, which ended the Northern War and helped shape New Zealand history.


Paihia's free Summer Festival continues all this week, winding up on Sunday with the popular sandcastle contest. And just as that festival ends a kids' summer programme starts at Waitangi Treaty Grounds. It's a good time to be in the Bay.

Tall ships return

One of the most eagerly awaited events in the Bay of Islands' sailing and social calendars returns this Saturday when the Tall Ships and Classic Invitational marks its 40th anniversary.

Although trophies are awarded for line honours and handicap winners in tall ship and classic invitational divisions, the day is really about catching up with old sailing friends and showing off the Bay's lovingly restored historic boats.

Even non-sailors will be rewarded with the spectacle of tall ships and sailing boats dating back as far as the 1880s - anywhere along the Paihia, Waitangi or Russell shore will allow a good look but the best views will be had from the water and Russell's Tapeka Pt.

The event is organised by the Russell Boating Club at Matauwhi Bay. The post-race social is as much a highlight as the event itself with one of New Zealand's biggest hangi - enough food is cooked for up to 1000 people - plus a prizegiving, live bands and dancing until the wee small hours.

Racing starts at noon. Last year's winner was Reremoana, a 51-year-old classic yacht owned by David Hope-Lewis of Paihia which has taken part in every tall ships race bar one.

Battle's 170th anniversary recalled

In December 1845 1600 British troops, backed up by Maori allies and still smarting from a resounding defeat at Ohaeawai Pa, made the long trek overland to Ruapekapeka where Ngati Hine chief Te Ruki Kawiti and his Ngapuhi allies had built a formidable pa south of Kawakawa.

The outcome of the Battle of Ruapekapeka Pa, which ended when its defences were finally breached on January 10, 1846, was inconclusive but it marked the end of the Northern War and the pinnacle of Maori defensive engineering.

The British took lessons learnt at Ruapekapeka and applied them in the Crimean War and later in World War I.

Commemorations, including mass haka by hapu from across the North Island, are expected to continue all Sunday at the pa site off Ruapekapeka Rd.

Ruapekapeka Pa was recognised in 2008 by the New Zealand Institute of Professional Engineers as a leading example of engineering innovation.

Summer Festival continues

Paihia's popular Summer Festival continues this week with free daily activities geared at local and holidaying families.

The beach dig, which was to have taken place in the aftermath of the storm last Sunday, has been rescheduled to this coming Saturday after the boat-building challenge and beach games. The eight-day festival winds up on Sunday with the ever-popular sandcastle contest.

Kawakawa siblings Blake and Savannah Taylor, with Joanna Pietsch of Germany, opt for a classic sandcastle in last year's sandcastle competition, part of Paihia's Summer Festival. PHOTO/PETER DE GRAAF
Kawakawa siblings Blake and Savannah Taylor, with Joanna Pietsch of Germany, opt for a classic sandcastle in last year's sandcastle competition, part of Paihia's Summer Festival. PHOTO/PETER DE GRAAF

Today, January 6

* Kids Multisport (kayak/run), registration 9am at Bay Beach Hire on Paihia Beach; 9.30am safety briefing and start. Entrants must be at least 8 years old. A fun event to give kids a go in a kayak plus a run.

* Cardboard Creations, 1pm, Paihia War Memorial Hall, Williams Rd. Make anything - robots, rockets, cars, boats and other cool creations - using cardboard, tape, string and colour.

Thursday, January 7
* Street Smart Funky Art Pavement Drawing, 10am, in the walkway on Williams Rd. Pavement drawing and shadow chalk drawing. Materials supplies; prizes for all age groups. Judged by renowned photographer Frank Habicht.
* Flippa Ball, 2.30pm, Panorama Resort, Haruru Falls. A fun, fast version of water hockey played in the pool for ages 8 and up. Bring togs, towel, water bottle, sunblock and an adult.

Friday, January 8
* Kids Fishing Competition, register from 9.30am at Paihia Dive on Williams Rd; fishing runs from 10.30-11.30am at Paihia Wharf. Bring a hand line or rod, bait supplied.
* Pirate Day, 2pm, Paihia Village Green. Pirate games and treasure hunt; bring your pirate clothes or borrow some from Captain Hook's chest.

Saturday, January 9
* Build a Boat, 10am, Paihia Beach (opposite Kings Rd). Team challenge to build a boat with the materials provided.
* Beach Games and Barbecue, 12.30pm on Paihia Beach, followed by a beach dig at 1.30pm (rescheduled from January 3).

Sunday, January 10
* Sandcastle Competition, Paihia Beach (opposite Kings Rd). Start any time; judging at 3pm. Lost of prizes.

The Summer Festival, organised by Business Paihia and Blah Blah Marketing, has been held every year since 1996.

Fish like it's 1899

This coming Monday kids can experience first-hand how Maori and early Pakeha settlers went fishing, using a stone fish trap thought to date back about 150 years.

Heritage New Zealand is organising a live archaeological experience at Quince's Landing, near Kerikeri, from 3pm on January 11. The event, Te Ika Hari Raumati (Happy Summer Fishing), will run until about 5pm and be followed by a short tour of the nearby Edmond's Ruins.

Kids learn first-hand how a 150-year-old stone fish trap works during a demonstration set to be repeated this coming Monday. PHOTO / HERITAGE NZ
Kids learn first-hand how a 150-year-old stone fish trap works during a demonstration set to be repeated this coming Monday. PHOTO / HERITAGE NZ

Kids will be able to see how the fish trap works and learn traditional skills like making a knife out of obsidian to cut and scale the fish, Heritage NZ Northland manager Bill Edwards said.

"This is a really good opportunity for young people in particular to engage with archaeology and Maori heritage in a fun, hands-on way. We'll be carefully using an existing stone fish trap - which we believe is well over 150 years old - to show people how they worked, while also giving them a taste of this particular aspect of Maori heritage."

Participants will be limited to 60 and children will have to be accompanied by an adult. Old clothes, suitable shoes or gumboots, and sunscreen will be needed.

The event is free but bookings are essential. Call (09) 407 0470 or email AdminAsstNA@heritage.org.nz. It will be clearly signposted from Wharau Rd, which is off Kerikeri Inlet Rd.

Czech out this guy

The latest exhibition at Kaan Zamaan gallery on Kerikeri's Hobson Ave features drawings, stained glass and bronze sculpture by the prolific Czech artist Ludek Adamek, now living in the Far North.

Mr Adamek has spent a lifetime working and exhibiting in Czechoslovakia and later the Czech Republic, but last year traded his success at home for the obscurity of a new life on an isolated property in Doubtless Bay.

The solo show, his first in New Zealand, samples the many styles and media he has employed. Especially intriguing is how he adapted to working in the Communist era when materials were scarce - some intricate drawing are executed with a humble ballpoint pen and the backs of propaganda posters take the place of art paper.

The show will be open 10am-5pm Tuesday to Friday and 9am-1pm on Sundays.

Antique fair

An antiques and collectables fair is being held at the Turner Centre from tomorrow, January 7, until Saturday. A wide variety of furniture, jewellery, china, glassware, silver, linen, old tools, wartime photos, postcards and other items will be for sale from 9am-4pm daily. Entry by gold coin donation. Door proceeds will go to Hospice Mid-Northland.

Holiday fun at Waitangi

On weekdays from January 11-29 kids can take part in a free summer school holiday programme at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds. Most events take two hours; kids must be accompanied by a grown-up. Adults pay the usual Treaty grounds entry fee.

Note that Far North residents can buy a Friends of Waitangi card for $5 entitling them to unlimited free entry (bring ID and proof of address).

Mondays: 10am traditional Maori games; 1pm sand creations.
Tuesdays: 11am flax weaving; 1.45pm kapa haka.
Wednesdays: 10.15am, 10.45am, 11.45am, 12.15pm, Waitangi Amazing Race.
Thursdays: 10am 1840s games; 1pm chalk art competition.
Fridays: 10am make a natty knotter; 1pm scavenger hunt selfies.

Rock stars wanted

Tu Ake Performing Arts is looking for 80 young Ngapuhi rock stars to be part of a multimedia performance for Ngapuhi Festival 2016.

If you are aged 14-20, can whakapapa back to Ngapuhi and have experience in performance or production, this could be your chance to shine at Northland's biggest festival.

Email events@tuake.org or send a private message to the Facebook page tuakeperformingarts; you'll need to fill in a form and send up a 30-second video audition by Friday. You'll also have to commit to marae-based noho on January 18-21 in Kaitaia, January 24-29 in Auckland and January 29-30 in Kaikohe.

Workshops will include kapa haka, slam poetry, dance, music, stage and sound, costume, hair and makeup, and prop design.

Blues or opera?

Music lovers can choose between blues and opera this Friday, January 8.

Soprano Joanna Foote is coming home to the Far North with up-and-coming English tenor Andrew Dickinson for a one-off show featuring opera, song and musical theatre. The concert starts at the Turner Centre at 7.30pm. Call (09) 407 0260 or visit www.turnercentre.co.nz to book.

If you prefer the blues, Auckland-based singer Coco Davis is starting her nationwide Old Haunts album release tour in Oruru's Swamp Palace, inland from Taipa in Doubtless Bay. She will be accompanied by guitarist Tom Rodwell. Doors open at 7pm.

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.