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

A record 66 Northland artists will be throwing open their studio doors and inviting the public inside for this weekend's Kerikeri Open Art Studios Trail (Koast).

The Labour Weekend event has almost doubled in size since last year and includes 26 new artists, 32 locations and seven shared venues, three of which are new to the trail.

Koast chairwoman Ann Winship said the growth of the event, now in its fifth year, was a direct reflection of the massive growth in Kerikeri.

"Artists are choosing to settle here, building new studios, and bringing their acclaimed or newly emerging artworks," she said.

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Sculptor Jonathan Foley at work in his studio ahead of this weekend's Kerikeri Open Art Studios Trail. Photo / supplied
Sculptor Jonathan Foley at work in his studio ahead of this weekend's Kerikeri Open Art Studios Trail. Photo / supplied

Sculptor Jonathan Foley is one of those new arrivals. Since moving to Northland he has started combining Italian Carrara marble with swamp kauri.

"Marble takes millions of years to form and swamp kauri takes over 30,000 years, so there's wonderful synergy in the combination of these two ancient substances," he said.

Potter Nicky Jolly, who has been part of the trail for most of its five-year history, said a "real buzz" had built up over the years as Koast matured into a destination event.

Artists created fresh work especially for the influx of visitors during the three-day event, she said.

As always guest artists from outside Kerikeri are invited to take part. This year's guests include Mandy Wood of Dargaville, who creates stained glass windows; Allan Gale from Hokianga with his woodblock prints; and the Kaikohekohe Weavers who will be exhibiting and demonstrating flax art, as well as fundraising for a trip to London to study the only pre-European Māori sail known to exist.

Winship said one of the original aims of Koast was to enhance Kerikeri's reputation as a hotspot for the arts.

During the past five years, a number of galleries in the town had vanished as rents increased and real-world retail lost ground to the internet.

"Even though artists now benefit from promoting and selling their art directly online, they still want to physically show their work, and art lovers still want to experience art with real people, with real stories, in physical settings," she said.

Art forms in Koast 2018 include sculpture, jewellery, multi-media, painting, photography, ceramics, fibre, printing, glass and woodwork.

Trail guides, which include a map and information about each artist, are available for $5 at Paper Plus, Warehouse Stationery and the Packhouse Market in Kerikeri, as well as various locations in Waipapa, Paihia, Mangonui, Rawene, Whangarei and Kaitaia. The website www.koast.org.nz has a full list of trail guide outlets. The venues will be open from October 20-22.

Bugsy Malone comes to Kerikeri
Bugsy Malone – the famous musical gangster comedy set in prohibition-era New York – is coming to the Turner Centre next week thanks to the talented youngsters of Kerikeri Youth Theatre.

The show, which has a cast of 55 aged 7-16, tells the story of the rise of Bugsy and a power struggle between rival gangsters Dandy Dan and Fat Sam.

Fat Sam’s gang takes a break in the Grand Slam Speakeasy between rehearsals for the upcoming Kerikeri Youth Theatre musical comedy Bugsy Malone. From front, Fat Sam (Casey Roberts, 15), Knuckles (Alyssa Petzer, 12), Angelo (Te Kauri Kingi, 10), Ritzy (Tia Codlin, 11), Snake Eyes (Imogen Crooks, 13) and Louis (Devon Buxton, 12). Photo / Peter de Graaf
Fat Sam’s gang takes a break in the Grand Slam Speakeasy between rehearsals for the upcoming Kerikeri Youth Theatre musical comedy Bugsy Malone. From front, Fat Sam (Casey Roberts, 15), Knuckles (Alyssa Petzer, 12), Angelo (Te Kauri Kingi, 10), Ritzy (Tia Codlin, 11), Snake Eyes (Imogen Crooks, 13) and Louis (Devon Buxton, 12). Photo / Peter de Graaf

A satire of classic gangster movies, it's packed full of songs, dancing and gags. It's the first show staged by Kerikeri Youth Theatre, an offshoot of Kerikeri Theatre Company.

The musical was originally written by Paul Williams and made into a movie by Alan Parker in 1976, catapulting a young Jodie Foster to fame as gangster girlfriend Tallulah. No doubt some young Northland actors hope next week's production does the same for them.

Show dates are October 24 (7pm), October 25 (7pm), October 27 (11am, 7pm) and October 28 (11am, 3pm). Tickets are $28 adults/$15 students from the Turner Centre box office or online at www.turnercentre.co.nz.

You can watch the Fat Sam trailer here ...

... and Dandy Dan's reply here:

Battle of the bands

Are you aged between 13 and 18? Do you love playing music, and do you want a chance of winning cash and/or fame?

If you answered "yes" to all of the above, you need to register your band – or get your mates together and start one – and enter the upcoming Battle of the Bands.

The competition is organised by Be Free Youth instead of the music mentoring group's usual spring concert.

It's open to all Far North 13-18-year-olds and will be judged by a panel of music professionals, while the audience will decide the People's Choice winner.

Go to befreeplaymusic.wordpress.com/battle-of-the-bands for more information. Entries close on October 31. The battle will take place at the Turner Centre in Kerikeri on November 10.

Dog's day out in Moerewa

Dog owners are being offered free "chipping and snipping" during a dog day in Moerewa this Friday.

Ngā Kurī Auau o Moerewa gets under way at Simpson Park at 10am with dog demonstrations, spot prizes and on-the-spot free microchipping. Dog owners can sign up for free neutering, and responsible dog owners may be offered free registration for a year. All dogs must be on a leash.

The Far North District Council has organised previous dog days in Kaikohe and Kaitaia.

Pinny launches new EP

Kerikeri dairy farmer turned social action rocker Merv Pinny will launch his new EP, Twisted Minds, at Whangārei's Old Stone Butter Factory this Friday.

It's the latest musical step for the man who turned full-time musician after selling his dairy farm empire in 2016.

Kerikeri dairy farmer turned social action rocker Merv Pinny launches his new EP at Whangārei's Old Butter Factory this Friday. Photo / supplied
Kerikeri dairy farmer turned social action rocker Merv Pinny launches his new EP at Whangārei's Old Butter Factory this Friday. Photo / supplied

Watching an interview with actress Angelina Jolie convinced him that even a Northland farmer armed only with a guitar could have something to say about the troubles facing the world, especially war, terrorism and the refugee crisis.

His first single since returning to music – he was nominated in the NZ Music Awards in the 1990s – was OB (Can You Hear the Children Cry?), which racked up more than 13 million views on social media.

Follow-up singles have been played on 140 student radio stations around the world, including in the US, South America, Asia, Europe and Australia.

The venue doors on Butter Factory Lane open at 8pm; free entry. Go to www.mervpinny.com for more information.

A cat in a hat? Imagine that!

Two bored kids. One rainy day. And one crazy cat wearing a red-striped hat …

Dr Seuss' classic of children's literature, The Cat in the Hat, has been made into a play which will be performed at the Turner Centre in Kerikeri as part of a 20-centre, 40-show tour of New Zealand.

The Dr Seuss classic The Cat in the Hat, complete with picker-up machine, is coming to Kerikeri this weekend. Photo / supplied
The Dr Seuss classic The Cat in the Hat, complete with picker-up machine, is coming to Kerikeri this weekend. Photo / supplied

Seventy props (including a picker-up machine to get the house back into order before mum gets home) will bring every detail of the book to life. The promoters even promise a talking fish.

Show time is 10am and 12.30pm this Sunday, October 21. Tickets are $27.50 via www.turnercentre.co.nz. Group and family discounts available.

Mural, charging station for Kaikohe

A large-scale mural by urban artists Charles and Janine Williams of a tūī and a bunch of kohekohe berries has transformed a once unappealing corner of the Mid North town.

The mural forms a vibrant backdrop for a new electric vehicle (EV) recharging station, one several installed by ChargeNet along Te Tai Tokerau Crimson Coast EV Highway.

A new mural forms the backdrop to the Mid North's newest EV station and tells the story behind Kaikohe's name. Photo / supplied
A new mural forms the backdrop to the Mid North's newest EV station and tells the story behind Kaikohe's name. Photo / supplied

Charging stations on the EV Highway are spaced 50-60km apart around the Far North, making it possible for even low-range EVs to drive to Cape Reinga and back with enough charge to spare to explore side roads.

Artists Charles (Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngai Tuhoe, Ngāpuhi) and Janine Williams (Ngāti Paoa, Ngāti Whatua o Kaipara), have painted murals around the world.

They were assisted by volunteers who prepared the wall and applied the base coats. Local businesses supplied the equipment while Kaikohe-based design studio Akau organised the volunteers and lessons in street art for rangatahi.

The mural tells the story of Kaikohe, which was named after the kohekohe fruit which sustained people in times of hardship. The diamond background represents a bird's-eye view of the maunga Tokareireia or Kaikohe Hill.

Christmas parade dates set

The Kerikeri Lions Christmas parade will be held on Saturday, November 24, starting at noon from the Domain.

To register a float contact Bruce Henderson on jenbru@xtra.co.nz or 027 407 3010; entries cost $35 in the business category, free for community floats. Prizes will also be awarded for the best decorated children's bikes.

Paihia has also set a date for its parade which will be on Friday, December 7, starting at 5.30pm. This year's theme is songs of Christmas.

■ 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