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

Whangaroa raft race

This Saturday inner tubes, old drums, bamboo, plastic pipes and pretty much anything else that floats will be transformed into watercraft for the Great Whangaroa Kiwi Can Raft Race.

The annual event sees schools, businesses and community groups compete to see who can paddle their raft from the Clansman Wharf to the Whangaroa Marina in the shortest time.

Invariably a few sink en route but that is part of the entertainment. Others come armed with waterbombs and squirt guns in the hope of gaining some kind of military advantage over their opposition.


Racing in school and open divisions starts at 10am and runs until about 11.30am. The prizegiving will be held on the grassed area next to the Whangaroa Sports Fishing Club.

Schools registered as of last week were Kaeo Primary School, Te Kura o Hato Hohepa Te Kamura, Totara North School, Matauri Bay School, Oruaiti School, Mangonui School and Kaingaroa School. Last year a postponement caused by Cyclone Pam dented numbers but there were still seven entries in the open division.

As a bonus some of the Harley Davdisons taking part in the Iron Run at Waitangi will roar in to raft race headquarters around noon.

Here come the Hogs

If you love Harley-Davidsons make sure you get to Waitangi on Friday and Saturday when as many as 1000 of the iconic American machines and their riders are expected to gather for the Iron Run.

And if you don't like loud bikes make sure you invest in a set of heavy-duty earplugs, especially on Saturday when the Harleys take part in an hour-long drive through Paihia and Kerikeri fittingly named the Thunder Run.

HOG HEAVEN: More than 1000 Harley-Davidsons will descend on the Bay of Islands on March 11-12. PHOTO/SUPPLIED
HOG HEAVEN: More than 1000 Harley-Davidsons will descend on the Bay of Islands on March 11-12. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

The two-day celebration of all things Harley-Davidson will be based at the Copthorne in Waitangi.

On Friday anyone who has never ridden a bike can have a go on a Jumpstart, a stationary Harley designed for teaching the basics of motorcycle riding, in a marquee on the fields opposite the Treaty Grounds. A community day will be held on Paihia's Village Green on Saturday.

Eighty years of colour

In Kerikeri she's known as the Walking Rainbow for her dazzling taste in clothing - but she's also a prolific and highly-regarded artist with works in museums around the Pacific and a career spanning many decades.

"Walking Rainbow" Valerie Hunton in her studio with work inspired by 15 years on remote Pacific islands. PHOTO / PETER DE GRAAF

Now Valerie Hunton is celebrating her 80th birthday with a retrospective exhibition of her work at Kaan Zamaan Gallery on Kerikeri's Hobson Ave which opens this Sunday.

Auckland-born Mrs Hunton studied at Elam, taught art in the UK and New Zealand, and became a pioneer in the use of psychodrama as a form of therapy before moving to the Marshall Islands with her GP husband in 1985.

Many other Pacific placements followed over the next 15 years, leaving an indelible mark on her art as she worked with Pacific women making weavings and tapa cloth. Her Pacific-influenced art is as vibrant as her dress sense.

Her work celebrates life's rhythms and the themes of sky, ocean, birth and death, using natural and synthetic fibres, tapa cloth, canvas, acrylic paint and other materials.

The opening preview is from 9am to noon on March 13. The show runs until March 31 with an artist's talk at 5pm on March 17.

Get folked up this weekend

Auckland-based folk duo Mark Laurent and Brenda Liddiard will play outdoor shows in Russell and North Hokianga this weekend.

Mark Laurent and Brenda Liddiard will be performing around the Far North this week. Photo / Paul Restall
Mark Laurent and Brenda Liddiard will be performing around the Far North this week. Photo / Paul Restall

The Russell show, which coincides with the anniversary of the Battle of Kororareka in 1845, will take place in the grounds of Pompallier Mission from 6pm on Friday, March 11.

Proceeds from the Heritage New Zealand-hosted concert will go to St John Russell Health Shuttle. Tickets are $15 for adults (children under 15 free) available from Russell Bookshop or by emailing dianesmith@hotmail.com. BYO picnic and a rug. Russell Town Hall is the wet weather venue.

On Sunday the duo will bring their brand of "acoustic music with passion" to the Soundgarden venue at 1262 Paponga Rd near Kohukohu. The show will run form 3-6pm; tickets $12. Bring food for a shared meal. Call Bruce on 0211 766 355 for more information.

Freshmeat wanted

The Waipapa-based Peowhairangi Roller Derby League is looking for freshmeat - that's the sport's terminology for new members keen to take up the full-contact sport on roller skates.

The Peowhairangi roller derby crew, pictured, is looking for fresh meat (otherwise known as new members). PHOTO / SUPPLIED
The Peowhairangi roller derby crew, pictured, is looking for fresh meat (otherwise known as new members). PHOTO / SUPPLIED

The upcoming senior freshmeat intake is a chance for anyone who's been quietly longing to join, or for athletic types new to skating and looking for a challenge.

There isn't much time to get up to speed - the league is preparing for its first competitive bout in Timaru in June. Basic fitness is required along with courage, a competitive streak, team spirit and stamina. Equipment provided.

For more information email prdl.crew@gmail.com or send a message via facebook.com/prdl.crew.

The league is also holding an open session at BaySport on Harmony Lane, Waipapa, from 4-6pm this Sunday, March 13. As well as senior members they hope to recruit 9-15 year olds for a junior league, officials, referees and support crew. Email beforehand to make sure gear is available.


Concerto Auckland and the internationally renowned cellist Ramon Jaffé will present a recital from 2.30pm this Sunday, March 13, at the Turner Centre in Kerikeri.

Professor Jaffé will be accompanied in Cellissimo! by Edith Salzmann, also on cello, Rachel Fuller on piano and the Auckland Cellists in a repertoire including Brahms' e-minor cello sonata to tangos, flamencos and the Barriere Duo for two cellos. Other cello ensemble pieces will range from Haydn to Piazolla.

Tickets available from the Turner Centre box office on (09) 407 0260 or www.turnercentre.co.nz.

Hip hop show

Hip hop dance group The Bradas - gold medallists at the recent World Hip Hop Championships - will be among the performers at a motivational show for youth at the Turner Centre this Saturday.

The Unstoppable Tour will present an inspirational message about hope, purpose and pursuing one's dreams. It also encourages students to seek help if they are going through depression or hard times.

The line-up includes IDentity Dance Company, members of The Bradas, and Grace Ikensaio. The free show starts at 6.30pm.

New trustee needed

Focus Paihia is looking for a new school/youth representative on its board to replace outgoing trustee Darl Tana. The trustee's role is to represent the interests of young people in the area; preference will be given to someone who has links to Paihia School, lives locally, is available for monthly meetings, and has a clear ability to communicate on behalf of and with youth. Send nominations to info@focuspaihia.org.nz by April 1.

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.