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

NZ's oldest country show returns

New Zealand's oldest country show – and Northland's first of the 2018-19 season – is returning to the picturesque Waimate North showgrounds this Saturday.

The Bay of Islands Pastoral and Industrial Show, which turns 176 this year, will feature all the usual trade displays, competitions, children's rides and entertainment along with Savouring the Source, a Northland food and wine festival.

One thing, however, will be different this year, because the popular dairy, beef and kids' calf club events won't be held due to fears of spreading the cattle disease Mycoplasma bovis. All other animal classes will go ahead as usual.

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Bay of Islands P&I Association president Graham Moor said the decision not to hold bovine events wasn't taken lightly, given their central role in the show.

However, with the risk posed by M. bovis to Northland farmers still unclear, the association decided to take a cautious approach, and support the efforts of the Ministry for Primary Industries to control and eradicate the disease.

"We've had exhibitors who've been coming here for generations, and they're just not willing to put that breeding at risk," Moor said.

Instead of calf club, children had been encouraged to bring along their pet lambs.

"It looks like we'll have a massive turnout of handlers with their young lambs. That's encouraging because it means people do want to exhibit animals, and that's what the show really is about."

The association was also taking the opportunity to re-engage with Young Farmers, who would be holding a series of AgriKids, Teen Ag and Young Farmers contests in the area normally set aside for cattle events. Seven teams of Young Farmers, mostly from Northland, would compete in a series of challenges testing their agricultural skills.

Other attractions this year would include a display of classic cars and hot rods, live music from covers band JPG, a police dog demonstration at noon in the main oval – providing the canine sleuths aren't called away to track down any criminals on the run – and competitions for everything from preserving to photography in the showgrounds hall.

As well as stalls showcasing top Northland food and wine, the Savouring the Source marquee would feature cooking demonstrations and the hotly contested Kids Can Cook for aspiring masterchefs.

Previous shows have attracted around 7000 people to a venue which was one of the attractions in itself, Moor said.

"I might be biased but it's one of the prettiest showgrounds in New Zealand. The long-range forecast is very encouraging so bring your money and your sunscreen," he said.

The show takes place on Showgrounds Rd, Waimate North. Gates open early and the action starts winding down after the grand parade at 3pm. Entry $10 per person; children aged 12 and under free if accompanied by an adult. The equestrian events will take place over two days starting at 9.30am on Friday.


Help celebrate 200 years of Kerikeri

Next year Kerikeri will commemorate the 200th anniversary of the founding of Kerikeri Mission Station, making it the country's oldest surviving European settlement.

A birthday like that needs to be properly celebrated so a small working group has started planning the festivities set down for September 28-October 5.

Townsfolk parade through Kerikeri in historical costumes for the town's 150th anniversary celebrations in 1969. Photo / supplied
Townsfolk parade through Kerikeri in historical costumes for the town's 150th anniversary celebrations in 1969. Photo / supplied

So far the three-member group, operating under the umbrella of the Kerikeri Business Association, comprises Doug Turner, Rachel Smith and Ann-Maree Mills.

However, they are keen to expand the committee and get a wide range of Kerikeri people involved. Those who don't want to join the committee are welcome to contribute ideas for anniversary events.

Turner said he had "a whole raft of ideas" but he'd prefer to hear what the community wanted. The celebrations were likely, however, to include a parade, a ball and a tree-planting ceremony.

Email Rachel Smith on rachel.smith@fndc.govt.nz, Ann-Maree Mills on millsfirst@xtra.co.nz or Doug Turner on jstrauss@xtra.co.nz for more information.

Previous celebrations were held for the town's 150th and 175th anniversaries.


Kaikohe Halloween success

A Halloween event at Kaikohe's Pioneer Village was such a success it will almost certainly be back next year.

Last Wednesday's event drew 619 children and almost as many adults, making it the biggest event anyone can remember at the town's outdoor museum.

Zombie schoolgirl Sydnee-Jo van Gaalen in a haunted classroom, one of the stops on Kaikohe's Halloween trail around the Pioneer Village. Photo / supplied
Zombie schoolgirl Sydnee-Jo van Gaalen in a haunted classroom, one of the stops on Kaikohe's Halloween trail around the Pioneer Village. Photo / supplied

Village operations manager Kelly van Gaalen said the idea was to give Kaikohe kids a chance to dress up and experience Halloween, without knocking on strangers' doors for sweets.

"We wanted to give kids from our town a safe environment to go trick or treating. It was a really good family atmosphere."

For their $5 entry fee children got a ride on a ghost train and followed a trick-or-treat trail around the village's buildings, all of which had been decorated and had spooky creatures lying in wait.

Lara Hastings made a terrifying Halloween clown at Kaikohe's Pioneer Village. Photo / supplied
Lara Hastings made a terrifying Halloween clown at Kaikohe's Pioneer Village. Photo / supplied

People were queuing at the gate from 4.30pm for the 5pm opening; some had to wait an hour and a half just to get in.

"It blew our minds. We didn't do much advertising, just on Facebook and through the schools, so we would've really happy to get 300 people," van Gaalen said.

Children were required to dress up and bring their best manners.

"One group of teenage boys was a little bit rude but everyone else was really polite, with lots of pleases and thank yous."

The event was also good for the village because many of the Halloween visitors had never been inside the gates before, despite living in Kaikohe. Van Gaalen hoped it would encourage them to return.

The event would almost certainly be back in 2019 but she hoped to build up a bigger volunteer base before then.


Battle of the Bands

Northland youth will be fighting a pitched battle in Kerikeri this weekend – but the only kind of weapons they'll be wielding will be guitars.

The competition is organised by Be Free Youth instead of the music mentoring group's usual spring concert and is open to musicians aged up to 18 from Whangārei north.

Reflecks will be one of seven youth bands competing in a musical battle at the Turner Centre this Saturday. Photo / supplied
Reflecks will be one of seven youth bands competing in a musical battle at the Turner Centre this Saturday. Photo / supplied

The bands will be judged by a panel of music professionals with audience members deciding the People's Choice winner.

Seven bands will be competing, many of them Rockquest regional finalists. They are Whangārei's Bleeding Hearts and Artists, and Jinx, Merchant of Menace and Reflecks from Kerikeri, plus three Be Free Youth bands. Extra entertainment will be provided by DDF Dance and the Friday Night Specials.

The battle will start in the Turner Centre Plaza at 7pm this Saturday. Suggested koha $5 at the door; under-13s free.


Armistice Day in Kaeo

The Whangaroa community is wrapping up four years of World War I commemorations with events this weekend marking the 100th anniversary of the signing of the armistice which ended the conflict.

Last year's World War I commemorations in Kaeo included a sunset slideshow projected onto the Wesleydale Memorial Church. Photo / Peter de Graaf
Last year's World War I commemorations in Kaeo included a sunset slideshow projected onto the Wesleydale Memorial Church. Photo / Peter de Graaf

Sunday's programme starts with a service led by the New Beginnings Church at 9.30am followed by a march from the Whangaroa RSA to the Memorial Hall cenotaph at 10.30am.

A memorial service will start in the hall at 11am with two minutes' silence and end about 11.45am with a ''march past''. The commemorations will end with refreshments and a concert at the hall from 12.15pm.

The programme has been organised by the Whangaroa Armed Services Commemorations Group, which has previously decorated the town with poppies and pennants, hosted exhibitions, projected a sunset slideshow on the Wesleydale Church, and conducted memorial services and tours of cemeteries and historic sites.

The armistice was famously signed on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918. Sadly, the belief that it marked the end of "the war to end all wars" proved unfounded.


Fireworks show goes off with a bang
by Marlowe McAngus (age 13)
The fireworks display at Springbank School this year drew the biggest crowd it has ever seen, with about 3000 people coming through the gate.

The biggest fundraiser of the year for the school, the fireworks night's expenses were around $13,000, while the proceeds from the stalls plus the entrance fee came to $25,000.

This year's Springbank School fireworks show drew a record crowd. Photo / Peter de Graaf
This year's Springbank School fireworks show drew a record crowd. Photo / Peter de Graaf

The financial success was partly due to a method employed for the first time by the school, which was to use its own kind of currency. Customers had to swap normal money for "Springbucks" in order to buy refreshments from the stalls.

What the proceeds will go toward is still undecided, but the school's parent-led organisation, Friends of Springbank, will consult students on what to do with the money.

The fireworks themselves, displayed from 9 to 9.15pm, were enjoyed by spectators. The school's principal, Mike Warren, who has a licence in pyrotechnics, was pleased by the success of the event, and grateful to the people who helped.

"I really enjoyed Saturday. The fireworks went according to plan, and we managed to get it in time to the music. We got it to run like a well-oiled machine. Thanks to all the parents and teachers who helped out."

The extravaganza was accompanied by other forms of entertainment. A cheer-leading group known as All 'n' Rhythm contributed to the atmosphere. The band known as Jam Sandwich played popular songs with firework-related lyrics.


Village Arts show

Hokianga artist Rachel Miller is opening a new solo exhibition, called White Ladder, at Village Arts Gallery in Kohukohu at 2pm this Saturday. All welcome; drinks and snacks served. The show will run until December 9.


Lunchtime concert

This Friday's lunchtime concert at the Turner Centre Theatre Bar, From First Steps Upwards, will feature piano students performing a range of music from beginner grades to challenging classical pieces. The concert starts at 12.30pm; $5 suggested donation at the door.


New principal at Bay College

Bay of Islands College has named Edith Painting-Davis, current head of the school's Reo Rua bilingual unit, as its new principal starting in January 2019.

Board of trustees chairwoman Del Bristow said she would replace John Paitai, who had tendered his resignation in May for a ''much-deserved rest'' after 48 years in education, the last five at the college.

Bristow said Painting-Davis was well-known in the local community, was born and schooled in Kawakawa, studied at Waikato University, and had taught in Whangarei, Auckland and Kawakawa.


Oruru Hall meeting

A public consultation meeting about the future of Oruru Hall, better known as the cult movie house Swamp Palace, will be held at the Eastern Rugby Club on East St, Taipa, at 2pm on Sunday. The community hall was ordered to close earlier this year due to safety fears.

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