Speechmakers excel

Jack Watson, a Whangārei Boys High School year 12 student, won first place at the Lions Young Speechmakers inter-school competition. Watson's speech topic was ''Mana - Inherent or Earned?''. Lauryn Jarman, from Kerikeri High School, was runner-up with her speech ''Generation Y''. Two students from Whangārei Boys, one from Kerikeri High and one from Ruawai College took part in the annual Lions zones 1, 2, and 3 event.

Burling misses out

Kerikeri sailor Blair Tuke and fellow New Zealander Peter Burling have missed out on sailing's coveted, and rarely achieved, triple crown after their boats were pipped to the finish line in the closest Volvo Ocean Race in history. To claim the triple crown, a sailor has to win Olympic gold, the America's Cup and the Volvo Ocean Race all in one cycle. Tuke (on the Spanish boat Mapfre) and Burling (Team Brunel) were tied for first place with the Chinese boat DongFeng going into the final sprint leg between Sweden and the Netherlands. About midway the fleet had to decide which way to sail around an exclusion zone, with DongFeng making what turned out to be the right call by taking the longer eastern route along the coast. Mapfre finished second on the table with Team Brunel third.

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Man's body found

Search and Rescue teams have found the body of a Cable Bay man who was last seen at his home at 7am on Sunday. Senior Constable Brett Walford said the man, who was terminally ill, had said he was going fishing but had not taken any gear with him. Nor had he taken his wallet or cellphone. A body was found at the western end of Cooper's Beach late yesterday morning. There were no suspicious circumstances.

Hunter injured

A hunter who was pinned by a fallen branch while looking for pigs has been airlifted to hospital with a badly broken leg. The incident occurred about 9pm on Saturday in bush off Rawhiti Rd, east of Russell. Rana Rewha, fire chief with the Rawhiti Rural Fire Party, said he believed the 29-year-old Rawhiti man had been hunting on a quad bike when he hit a tree, causing a ''widow-maker'' to fall on to him, fracturing his femur near the hip. The man's father, who was further down the gully, heard his screams and went to his aid. The pair managed to get to the road where they were met by the fire party, police and St John Ambulance. The injured man was treated for severe pain then taken to Kaingahoa Bay where he was picked up by Auckland's Westpac Rescue Helicopter because Northland's choppers were busy.

Dope complaint

Three Aucklanders made an unusual complaint to police in Kaitaia last week - their bid to buy cannabis had gone sour. The trio said they had approached a couple of very helpful locals to ask where they might buy some cannabis. They subsequently got their hands on $50, courtesy of Eftpos, and were taken to Foley St, where the locals legged it with their money and without producing the dope. Their complaint was that they had been ripped off, but it was not clear yesterday who, if anyone, would be charged with what.