Teens assault policewoman

Two teenagers who turned on and allegedly assaulted a female police officer as she tried to arrest them for theft from a Paihia backpackers have been arrested. Police allege three people went into the Haka Lodge backpackers in Paihia on Thursday evening and while one person distracted the person on reception the other two went in a room and stole clothes and cash.

When a female officer identified the male and female involved in the theft they allegedly assaulted her. A member of the public stepped in and helped and eventually a 17-year-old female and an 18-year-old male, both from Kaikohe, were arrested. They both appeared in Kaikohe District Court yesterday on charges of burglary, threatening behaviour, assault on police and assault on the member of the public.

Two fire alarms in Far North

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Far North fire services were called out on two alarms which threatened to engulf buildings although neither proved serious on closer inspection. Around 4.30pm yesterday fire crews and appliances from Kaeo, Kerikeri and Mangonui responded to a report a house was on fire at the Whangaroa Health site in Kaeo. It turned out to be a smoking motor in a washing machine. A report of a structure fire in Kaikohe at midday turned out to be the battery from a cellphone catching alight and setting of a smoke alarm. That was a good news story, a fire communications officer said, as the house had working smoke alarms.

Freedom camping ambassadors needed

The Whangarei District Council is seeking expressions of interest from community groups or residents wanting to volunteer as freedom camping ambassadors. The new ambassadors would help promote responsible camper behaviour and achieve voluntary compliance with freedom camping rules. They will work at Whangarei's 10 busiest freedom camping sites - Ruakaka Beach Reserve, Wehiwehi Rd in Matapouri, Kowharewa Bay, Sandy Bay, Woolleys Bay, Whananaki North, Tamaterau, Parua Bay, Mt Manaia and Ocean Beach. Those interested can visit www.wdc.govt.nz/ResponsibleFreedomCamping. Responsible Freedom Camping Ambassador application forms are also available from the council at Forum North or by contacting WDC Responsible Freedom Camping Co-ordinator, Sue Halliwell, on (09) 470 3196 or Susan.Halliwell@wdc.govt.nz. Applications close at 4pm on November 9.

Rāhui banning fishing at Maunganui Bay

A rāhui banning fishing at Maunganui Bay, also known as Deep Water Cove, in the Bay of Islands has been extended by two more years to 2020. The extension came after 1039 people made submissions to Fisheries NZ in support of rolling over the rāhui, which was first declared in 2010 by local hapū Ngāti Kuta and Patukeha. It is backed by the Ministry for Primary Industries so fishers who violate the fishing ban, which applies to all species except kina, can be prosecuted. Conservation group Fish Forever applauded the extension and said at 1.6sq km the no-take area covered just 0.5 per cent of the Bay, leaving the other 99.5 per cent available to recreational fishers. The rāhui does not stop visitors who wish to dive, swim or anchor in the bay, which is also the resting place of the NZ Navy frigate Canterbury.

Ten hour power cut in Kerikeri

Far North lines company Top Energy is still investigating the cause of a 10-hour power cut in central Kerikeri on Thursday. The power went out for more than 500 businesses and homes about 11am and was restored to most customers by 11.30am. However, the last 52 customers, on Kerikeri Rd and Fairway Dr, had to wait till about 9pm to have their power restored. A spokeswoman said a fault occurred in switching gear on Cobham Rd but the exact cause was still under investigation.

Tony Collins resigns

Tony Collins is moving on after nine years as NZ Chambers of Commerce Northland's CEO. "I have never felt that the role of CEO in a smaller Chamber should be indefinite, and that freshness is as important as continuity," he said. The board was in the process of recruiting his successor, who he was sure would continue to keep the Chamber as a relevant voice for business in the North.

Canopy Night Markets

If you've been missing the delicious food options the Canopy Night Markets brought to Whangārei, fear not - they are back next week. The markets, on the Canopy Bridge, launched in October last year after director Leeann de Vries had a goal to grow the economy and build businesses in the area. It was well supported by vendors selling delicious food and hundreds of people buying the tasty delights. There are 11 markets, held on Fridays, planned this season, starting on October 19 at 5pm and running until March 22 next year.

Rei Rei Morgan defends kina sucking tournament

Paihia man Rei Rei Morgan successfully defended the title he won last year at the kina-sucking contest at Saturday's It! Bay of Islands Food and Wine Festival, finishing his quota almost before his rivals had started. The pie-eating and oyster-shucking events were won by Alex Ward (Kerikeri) and Shaun Hylton-Cave (Whangārei), while an Aucklander received a prize for a self-inflicted oyster-eating injury.