American singer Donny Osmond has just turned 60 and he celebrated with a trip to a luxury lodge in Northland. The Puppy Love hitmaker, who celebrated the personal milestone on December 9, was treated to "adventures in New Zealand, Bora Bora, Tahiti and Hawaii" by wife Debbie.
The pair stayed at Helena Bay Lodge, a lavish hotel about 40km north of Whangarei, which was last year named the world's best new luxury accommodation by Luxury Travel Intelligence. Osmond said the time spent on our shores was "unforgettable in every way" and will result in "memories I'll talk about and cherish for the rest of my life".
Confusion over rubbish collection
The change in collection days for rubbish during Christmas week seemed to have confused a few Whangarei residents. But it's all back to normal from today.
Last week some rubbish bags and recycling bins were put on Whangarei kerbsides on their usual collection day - rather than the next day, as per the Christmas break which allows the staff to spend Christmas with their families. When Christmas falls on a Sunday, collection has always been delayed a day. As a result, each of the collection days in the week moves back one. The change in collection days is widely publicised - on the council website, on the council's Facebook page and in newspapers.
Care urged over Ruakaka birdlife
Local conservationists are hoping Ruakaka beachgoers will respect the wildlife and sensitive nature of the environment at the Ruakaka Wildlife Refuge.
People walking through or past the refuge often disturb bird habitat, and walk through groups of birds rather around them on the beach.
Certain recreational activities are prohibited by the Department of Conservation, which has a challenging task balancing the need to protect native species and habitats while minimising disturbance from recreational users. Bird species include the bar-tailed godwit, the endangered Northern New Zealand dotterel, terns, pied shags, oystercatchers and gulls.
Lotto luck for Kerikeri ticket
A Lotto ticket bought in Kerikeri was successful in second division on Saturday.
Twelve Lotto players each won $25,498 with Lotto Second Division, including the ticket bought from New World Kerikeri.
There were six division one winners, who all won $166,667 each. Powerball was not struck on Saturday and has rolled over to Wednesday night, where the jackpot will be $5 million. Meanwhile, Strike Four also rolled over and will be $300,000 on Wednesday. There were also nine BMW X1 drive vehicles up for grabs, with one successful ticket being sold at Hammer Hardware Kawakawa. The numbers were 1, 3, 12, 20, 21, 32 and the bonus 13.
No change in cocaine case
No further charges have been laid so far against a Frenchman accused of smuggling 24kg of cocaine worth up to $10.8 million seized in a Customs-led sting in Paihia.
French national Alexander Steeve Yelengwe Yonkwa-Dingom, 26, has appeared in Whangarei Court charged with possession for supply of a class A drug and with failing, without reasonable excuse, to assist a police constable exercising a search power under the Search and Surveillance Act 2012.
Yonkwa-Dingom will next appear in court on January 12.