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

Kerikeri boxing event aims to raise $20k for St John

The organisers of a charity boxing event in Kerikeri this weekend hope to raise at least $20,000 for the local branch of St John Ambulance.

Most of the 24 boxers taking part in the New Zealand Certified Builders Charity Boxing Event, at Turner Centre Plaza on Saturday night, are Northland tradies who have never been in the ring before.

Three of the 12 bouts will involve female fighters, including the only professional bout of the night between Quinita Hati of Moerewa and Baby Nansen of Auckland, both of whom are New Zealand title holders.

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In other fights Craig Maxwell, the owner of Laser Plumbing Kerikeri, will take on Kawakawa farmer Axel Goodhue, the brother of top Northland rugby players Josh and Jack Goodhue, while the owner of NT Engineering in Waipapa, Neil Turner, will be pitted against Ian "The Irish" Murray, a sparkie at Robert Gibson Electrical.

Mark Todd, NZCB's Bay of Islands branch president, said another fight worth watching out for would be between Okaihau farmer Kirk Johnsen and Kerikeri beekeeper Dana Young, now living in the South Island. Both had fought in previous events and were undefeated.

Two brothers from Kaeo, Darren and Dale Hemiora, had each lost 20kg preparing for the event, exemplifying the effort competitors had put in already.

"They've all done magnificently. It's been a massive learning curve for them, they've really stepped out of their comfort zones. I take my hat off to them all."

Todd said the aim was to raise at least $20,000 which would go to a training fund for St John volunteers looking to improve their skills and qualifications. St John was supplying volunteers to help run the event.

Since the biennial event started in 2012 the most raised in one night was $25,000.

Other charities benefiting from the event in previous years include the Pink and Steel Pilates Trust, Bald Angels and Coastguard Bay of Islands. This would be the second time St John had received the proceeds.

"We still hear about volunteers who are using the money we gave them years ago. To hear those stories pulls a few heartstrings," Todd said.

Professional ring announcer Dan Hennessey will be calling the fights, which get under way around 7pm.

Todd said tickets sold out long ago due to space limits in the Turner Centre Plaza. There were 46 corporate tables of 10 seats each and another 60 general admission tickets.

"We could have sold them all twice over."

Organising the fundraiser required a huge effort by the NZCB committee, volunteers and co-ordinator Natalie Todd.

"And a massive thank you to the boxers. Without them we wouldn't have an event," Todd said.

13 volunteers, 3km, 40 bags of rubbish
Thirteen keen volunteers turned out last Saturday to clean up a 3km stretch of roadside between Haruru and the Waitangi roundabout, collecting a 40 bags of rubbish in just over two hours.

Organiser Brad Windust said most of the volunteers were from Haruru, Watea and Paihia, with some coming from as far away Kaikohe, Waipapa and Opua. Friendships were forged, great conversations had and laughs shared, he said.

These Bay Beach Clean volunteers collected 40 bags of rubbish from just 3km of roadside between Haruru Falls and Paihia. Photo / supplied
These Bay Beach Clean volunteers collected 40 bags of rubbish from just 3km of roadside between Haruru Falls and Paihia. Photo / supplied

He was also grateful to the waste company that donated 20 rubbish bags and the person who gave $60, covering the cost of another 20 bags, as well as everyone who slowed down and gave a toot and a wave.

At the same time two other teams collected rubbish along the waterfront from Waitangi to Te Haumi.

Bay Beach Clean hits the beaches around Paihia every second Saturday. If you want to take part you can sign up at BayBeachClean.org.nz for email reminders.

Quiz tickets selling out
If you haven't yet bought your tickets to Saturday's Bay of Islands Vintage Railway Fun Trivia and Auction Night, you might still have a chance.

Railway trust stalwart Frank Leadley, who will be sharing auctioneering duties with Far North Mayor John Carter, said tickets had sold out at the Opua and Kawakawa outlets, but Paihia Pharmacy and Paper Plus Kerikeri still had a few left earlier this week.

Auctioneers Frank Leadley and John Carter, Mayor of the Far North, take bids on a cow painting by Di West during last year's Bay of Islands Vintage Railway Trivia Night. Photo / Peter de Graaf
Auctioneers Frank Leadley and John Carter, Mayor of the Far North, take bids on a cow painting by Di West during last year's Bay of Islands Vintage Railway Trivia Night. Photo / Peter de Graaf

Tickets cost $30 and include a drink and finger food. They can be bought individually or for tables of eight.

Leadley promised plenty of fast-moving, lively fun in the trivia quiz and games, and "crazy auctioneering" with items to suit all wallet sizes. Participants are advised to bring a supply of gold coins for some of the activities.

Doors at the Copthorne in Waitangi open at 5.30pm; the fun starts at 6.30pm. Bar meals will be available.

Leadley said he realised the All Blacks were scheduled to thrash the Aussies on the same night, but that wasn't the railway trust's fault. Quiz-goers could record the game or watch the delayed broadcast instead.

"The rugby union should have checked with us first!" he said.

People who took part in the quiz would be helping turn major plans for the railway into reality, and hence the economic and cultural development of Northland.

More than 180 people went to last year's event, raising $15,000 towards a new railway station at Opua.

Kaeo kids get growing
When Kaeo Primary School teacher Wendy Sutherland noticed how many children's lunches consisted of pre-packaged food, she decided to do something about it.

Together with other staff members she decided to start a garden that would teach students how to grow their own food as well as providing the community with free, fresh produce and giving the children a chance to learn cooking skills.

Kaeo kids create a community veggie garden at Kaeo Primary School. Photo / supplied
Kaeo kids create a community veggie garden at Kaeo Primary School. Photo / supplied

This project started with the school's environmental group holding a competition to design a community garden on the school grounds. With a winning design chosen but limited funds, the school then contacted Bunnings Kerikeri for help with materials and expertise.

Staff from the buildings supplies store turned out on August 1, donating their time as well as all the plants and materials needed.

Also helping out on the day was Kaeo food blogger and founder of the Veggie Tree cooking school, Anna Valentine, who will teach the kids techniques for preparing and cooking the food they grow.

The hope is that the garden, and the lessons the kids learn through the nationwide Garden to Table initiative, will have a lasting impact on the eating habits of Kaeo as a whole.

It is also hoped locals will take on maintenance of the garden during school holidays while enjoying the fruits, or in this case the veggies, of their labour.

Bay history talk
The Bay of Islands: From premier port to backwater is the subject of a talk by Lyndsay Alexander at Monday's meeting of U3A Bay of Islands.

The author and whaling history expert had been scheduled to give his talk at the group's June meeting but the AGM section ran well over time so he has agreed to return for the August meeting.

The meeting will start at 10.30am in the St John Ambulance Hall on Kerikeri Rd.

U3A, or University of the Third Age, is a group of retired and semi-retired people sharing interests and learning for pleasure.

Sacred music
The Bay of Islands Singers will perform two concerts of sacred music down the ages at Waimate North's historic St John the Baptist church this Sunday, August 19.

The shows will be at 2.30 and 4.30pm; tickets are $15 for adults or $5 students from Paper Plus Kerikeri. You can also call (09) 402 8944 to reserve a ticket.

Plastic-free Kerikeri
This weekend Plastic-free Kerikeri will hold its first working bee since the Government announced single-use plastic bags would be phased out next year.

The working bee will take place at Cornerstone Church/Te Whare Karakia o Manako, next to the Heritage Bypass, from 9am to noon on Saturday.

More sewers, sewing machines and fabric are needed to help make recycled tote and shopping bags. Call Barbara on 021 149 8656 for more information.

Essay contest
No. 1 Parnell Gallery in Rawene is running an essay competition for Far North writers as part of the Hokianga Book Festival on September 14-15.

The theme, Small is Beautiful, was inspired by the thrust for regional development through large-scale projects, but is open to any interpretation.

Essays should be unpublished and no longer than 2000 words. Entries close on September 3 with the winner of the $500 top prize announced on September 15. Up to 10 finalists will have their work published in a book of essays, also called Small is Beautiful.

Pop in to No. 1 Gallery or Rawene Library or call (09) 405 7520 for competition details. Entries should be emailed to number1parnell@gmail.com or posted (two hard copies) to Essay Competition, 31 William Bond St, Devonport, Auckland 0624.

Watch this space for more details of the festival, which will include youth workshops, a book launch and discussions.

Hip-hop dancers off to Oz
Kerikeri-based hip-hop dance studio DDF has again come home from a national competition with a swag of trophies.

Eight crews from DDF competed at last month's Supremacy Battlegrounds in Hamilton, with five dancers qualifying to travel to Australia in October for the World Supremacy Battlegrounds, the biggest hip-hop dance contest in the southern hemisphere.

Mother-daughter duo Alannah Curtis and Shaylah Harris, 11, of DDF Dance Studio compete at the Supremacy Battlegrounds in Hamilton. Photo / supplied
Mother-daughter duo Alannah Curtis and Shaylah Harris, 11, of DDF Dance Studio compete at the Supremacy Battlegrounds in Hamilton. Photo / supplied

DDF's awards include 1st place solo junior (Shaylah Harris, aged 11), 1st adult (Alannah Curtis), 2nd varsity (Meja Tubman, 14), 4th mother-daughter duo (Alannah Curtis and Shaylah Harris) and 2nd group (Alannah Curtis, Shaylah Harris, Meja Tubman, Alexis King, 10, and Peyton Baker, 9).

The dancers are now fundraising frantically to get to Australia. If you want to help them get in touch via facebook.com/ddfdance or call Alannah Curtis on 027 222 5574.

Storage space needed
The annual book fair organised by Waipapa Rotary Club earlier this month was a big success with more than 50,000 second-hand books on offer and eager buyers queuing to get in, Rotarian Geoff Tilley said.

However, organising the fundraiser was a challenge due to problems the club faced with storing and sorting donated books.

"Over the years we've been lucky enough to use various empty shops, packhouses and sheds. We continue to look for a more permanent home and if there is anyone who has a dry building with vehicular access in the Waipapa area which we could use, we'd be delighted to hear from them," Tilley said.

Mahalo Transport was currently providing container storage while Kerikeri's sailing club gave "magnificent support" with lifting and shifting during book fair weekend. Sorting the donated books, however, remained a big job requiring space. Call Geoff Tilley on (09) 407 8288 if you can help.

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