Pigs damage sports field

Nobody saw the pigs wreaking havoc on Ruakaka's sports fields, damaging them so badly that local footballers have been forced off their home ground – but they've certainly made their presence felt, and there's nothing to stop them returning.

Last Thursday morning Bream Bay United Football club members were shocked to discover that overnight pigs had rooted up grass and dirt centimetres deep across half their number two pitch.

"It was devastating when we went down to look at it, just unbelievable," said club secretary Robyn Davies.

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Whangārei District Council put down sand, regrassed the torn-up areas and advised the club to keep off it for four to six weeks.

But the pigs returned on Saturday night and had another go, tearing up grass and digging up soil in the same area.

"For them to come back and do more damage - now we're down another week," said Davies.

"You just feel wrecked. There's nothing you can do."

A close-up of some of the damage caused by pigs at the Ruakaka sports fields. Photo / Gavin Jacobson
A close-up of some of the damage caused by pigs at the Ruakaka sports fields. Photo / Gavin Jacobson

The club is playing as many games as possible on their number one pitch, but younger players have lost their home games.

"We're working with the school [Bream Bay College] at the moment and using their fields, but this has really affected our youth teams."

Just six months ago the Recreation Centre did a huge amount of work on the grounds, she says, improving drainage, levelling the ground and regrassing. The ground in that part of the park is slightly lower and softer, Davies says, which may have attracted the pigs.

Finding the culprits is a challenge. Pigs have been spotted behind the old power station recently, Davies says, and near the Ruakaka skate park.

Aubrey Gifford, Whangārei District Council's technical officer responsible for sports parks, says the pigs have obviously come from the large area of scrubland between Sime Rd and the refinery, but how they got there in the first place is a mystery.

His job now is finding someone to get rid of them.

"It's a little bit of a problem," he said. "I've dealt with plenty of livestock on sports fields before, but never pigs – it's usually horses or sheep."

While he's had several people offering to hunt the pigs, he says the council will most likely employ one of Northland Regional Council's preferred hunters who, with the fields bordering on an urban area, will need to use dogs rather than guns.

If the pigs escape capture, Gifford says fencing the fields may be the only option. But he would like to see them caught and says he will be more than happy to garnish and eat the pigs.

"I think there's quite a few people lining up for that, actually."

Playcentre kids stand out

Marsden Playcentre children are chuffed with their bright new fluorescent safety vests. Playcentre parent Charlotte Davies says the centre got the 30 vests through the Fonterra Grassroots Fund which they have previously applied to for grants.

"We last got one in 2016 and did the vege garden and log climbing area at the front of Playcentre," said Davies.

Marsden Playcentre youngsters (from left): Leroy Davies, Christian Howard and Caroline Grieve are delighted with their new safety vests. Photo /Charlotte Davies
Marsden Playcentre youngsters (from left): Leroy Davies, Christian Howard and Caroline Grieve are delighted with their new safety vests. Photo /Charlotte Davies

"They put a post on a Facebook that we follow, advertising these wonderful vests. We applied and got these vests for our tamariki."

The Playcentre children will wear the vests when they do field trips around the community during their "Active Tuesday" sessions.

"Over terms one and four we get out for lots of beach walks," says Davies. "Also the older children love to check the letterbox with an adult so these will be worn then too. And a couple will be used in our dress ups and fantasy play."

The vests also came in handy during a centre fire drill. Davies, as fire warden, was wearing a hi-vis vest and her son Leroy wanted to wear one too.

"He was super excited when I was able to give him a vest to wear," said Davies. "The other tamariki on session were also keen to get in on the action."

Marsden Playcentre sessions are Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 9am-12pm.


Netballers hold casino night

Channel the 1920s, bring out your inner Jay Gatsby or Daisy Buchanan and join Waipu Senior Netball Club at their Great Gatsby themed Casino Night fundraiser this Saturday at Waipu's Celtic Barn. Doors open at 6.30pm, with the first 50 people through the door going into a prize draw.

Games include Black Jack and Russian Roulette – your $25 ticket includes $1 million casino chips and food throughout the night. There will be raffles, a cash bar and courtesy van available, with cash prizes for the top three best-dressed. To buy tickets, call Sunny on 0212313894.


Bream Bay business race day at Ruakaka

It's race day at Ruakaka this Saturday. This year is the third running of the Bream Bay Business Race day and organiser Rebecca Swords says this year's event is well supported by 23 businesses located in or servicing the Bream Bay area.

This year Reyburn & Bryant drew first for the Bream Bay Cup race and The Clansman Motel drew second for the Bream Bay Bowl.

These businesses, along with seven others have full page sponsorship and hospitality tables on the day, with many of the remaining sponsors joining in the celebrations. The first race is expected to start around 11.30am.

Winner of the Lion Red Pubs and Clubs Challenge on May 16 was The Homestead Bar & Bistro Kerikeri, coming out top of the 18 teams registered for this event despite fierce competition. Kensington Tavern reluctantly relinquished the trophy but vow to win it back next year.

The next race day is the Northpine Waipu Cup day on June 30.
Email Julie Paton at moojoy@xtra.co.nz if you've got Bream Bay news to share with Advocate readers.