Northland Astronomical Society event

The Northland Astronomical Society has colliding black holes in its upcoming events.
On October 3 the public is invited to the Dawn of Gravitational Wave Astronomy, about mergers of binary black holes and neutron stars.

The event, at the Okara Park stadium to accommodate a large audience, forms the Beatrice Hill-Tinsley lecture, by Dr Paul Groot, Professor of Astronomy at Radboud University, the Netherlands. This month, on September 14 at 7pm at the society's Heritage Park Whangārei clubrooms, there will be a talk on Radio Astronomy from the team that runs the radio astronomy facility in Warkworth. In November, also at the clubrooms, astronomer Jennie McCormick will present Backyard Astronomy, her story from childhood stargazer to world leading research in her Auckland backyard.

Unlicenced teen believed driving


A 14-year-old unlicensed driver is believed to have been at the wheel of a car that crashed near Matauri Bay injuring four people. The single-vehicle crash occurred about 3.20pm on Saturday at the end of a long straight on Matauri Bay Rd when the vehicle hit loose gravel as it came around a corner, rolled and came to rest on its side. Police, St John Ambulance and Kaeo and Kerikeri fire brigades responded.

One patient was flown to Whangārei Hospital by the Northland Rescue Helicopter with three more transported by ambulance and private vehicle. Emergency services also responded to a crash on SH10 near Stanners Rd, north of Waipapa, when a vehicle demolished a large illuminated highway sign installed by the NZ Transport Agency. It is understood the vehicle was trying to overtake a line of cars about 10.50am on Saturday when the crash occurred. Later, about 12.20am on Monday, one person suffered moderate injuries when a car hit a drain and rolled on SH1 at Umawera.

MP Willow-Jean Prime's father dies

Barry Douglas Downs, the father of Northland-based Labour MP Willow-Jean Prime, has died. The 62-year-old passed away at home near Pakaraka on Saturday evening after a battle with cancer. He is lying at Waikare Marae, east of Kawakawa, and will be buried after a service at the whānau urupā Te Otingaparengaroa, at Skudders Beach, near Kerikeri, at 10.30am on Wednesday. ''Kua hinga te kauri o tō mātou whānau (The kauri of our family has fallen),'' Willow-Jean Prime said as she announced her father's passing. He is survived by his wife Adrienne, daughters Willow-Jean Prime and Season-Mary Downs, son Lloyd Downs, and grandchildren.

Possum sparks callout

A possum climbing a power pole sparked a fire callout at Bulls Gorge, near Kerikeri, about 8.40pm on Sunday. Firefighters left a Top Energy crew to recover the charred marsupial.