Ruakākā Christmas parade

With storm clouds gathering last Saturday morning, organisers worried they might have to cancel the Ruakākā Christmas Parade. But the clouds cleared briefly, and it went ahead, following a new route away from Marsden Point Rd.

Organisers Marsden Lions had planned for the parade to circle around the new carpark alongside the Ruakākā Town Centre but with this unfinished by parade day, they quickly needed a new plan. The new route saw floats leave the village green, head down Takutai Place on to Peter Snell Drive where they travelled twice around the traffic island, giving the crowd a good chance to see all the floats and wave to Santa.

Ruakākā School's Elf on the Shelf Christmas float. Photo/Julie Paton
Ruakākā School's Elf on the Shelf Christmas float. Photo/Julie Paton

Family fun activities followed at the town centre. Judges Whangārei District councillors Phil Halse and Shelley Deeming pronounced the plant-covered Friends of Takahiwai Berm float the winner, followed by Ruakākā School's Elf on the Shelf creation, with third place going to Bream Bay College's steel pan band, the Panimals, who livened up the parade with their Christmas music performance. Best walking group went to Cardio Drumming.

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Friends of Takahiwai Berm member Sue Tisdall says the group will put their $1000 prize money towards continuing their Takahiwai roadside clean-up projects.

Cardio Drumming Group from One Tree Point and Ruakaka. Photo/supplied
Cardio Drumming Group from One Tree Point and Ruakaka. Photo/supplied

During the past year the group with around seven members has picked up rubbish, removed weeds, put up safety signs and painted bus shelters with the help of local school children.

They plan to keep working their way down the road, cleaning up, felling deadly nightshade and nuisance trees and planting groves of fruit trees.

The Panimals entertaining the crowd from their Christmas float. Photo/Julie Paton
The Panimals entertaining the crowd from their Christmas float. Photo/Julie Paton

Tisdall says the group began because she and a few other residents saw a need for it.

"The berms weren't very nice. People need to have pride in their area – have pride in where they area and who they are."

She says it was important to involve children in their clean-up, so they will help look after it.

"It's wonderful seeing it take off."

Ruakākā Fire Brigade members cooled down the crowd after the Ruakaka Christmas Parade. Photo/Julie Paton
Ruakākā Fire Brigade members cooled down the crowd after the Ruakaka Christmas Parade. Photo/Julie Paton

Tisdall says their float didn't take long to put together – "It was a joint effort, we just put on all our gardening gear" – and a lot of fun to do. They handed out tree seedlings and gave out rubbish bags to onlookers.

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Beach remembrance ceremony
Alzheimers Northland organised a special event at Ruakākā Beach earlier this month for families who have lost loved ones to Alzheimer's. The ceremony was led by Doug Scott who, Alzheimers Northland spokeswoman Hannah Hunter says, gave some beautiful readings and offered his own experiences with his mother which resulted in a very understanding, sensitive and supportive ceremony.

Families prepare their floating memorial tributes for the Alzheimers memorial service at Ruakākā Beach. Photo/supplied
Families prepare their floating memorial tributes for the Alzheimers memorial service at Ruakākā Beach. Photo/supplied

"We had beautiful classical music from Simon Bailey on guitar," said Hunter.

"After the readings we stepped forward and chose a flower to place on the raft, walked the rafts to the waterfront, placed them on the lifesaver clubs' boards and watched them float out into the ocean."

The wind direction meant that the floats needed a little help which was provided by Ruakākā Surf Life Saving Club members. "They were wonderful and carried out their job very sensitively," said Hunter.

Alzheimers Northland hopes to make the event an annual tradition where people can take time out each Christmas to pay tribute to their loved ones.

Pet food at Sharing Sheds
The folk at Dog Rescue Ruakākā are keen to make sure that pets don't go hungry during the festive season when people strain their budgets with Christmas food and presents.

They are putting tins and bags of dog food at as many of the Bream Bay Sharing Sheds as they can – normally these are for human food supplies, but they are happy to stock pet food too, so canine companions are as well fed as the rest of the family during the festive season.

Sharing Sheds are located outside Lifepoint Church, One Tree Point; Bream Bay Trust; Ruakākā School and Waipu Playcentre. If you have pet food spare, drop it off at your nearest Sharing Shed – and if you are running short of funds to keep your dog fed, call in and pick up a packet of dogfood, in line with the Sharing Sheds' philosophy of "Share what you can, take what you need".

Ruakākā Dog Rescue's Jackie Boyd says people can also donate to them and says RDR is always on the lookout for companies and supermarkets to come on board and donate food or funding to help them feed the dogs in our community. Get in touch at ruakakadogrescue@gmail.com or call 0212222849.

New Year's Day fun at Highland Games
Waipū's Highland Games is fast approaching with New Year's Day just around the corner. Head to Caledonian Park from 9am where entry is $20 for adults and free for children and explore the Scottish history of the Waipu area.

Highland Games heavyweight contender Susie Lajoie in action. Photo/auraphotos.smugmug
Highland Games heavyweight contender Susie Lajoie in action. Photo/auraphotos.smugmug

Hundreds of dancers will compete across two stages, along with fiddlers, pipers and drummers. The fiddling, overseen by an international adjudicator, will be in the Coronation Hall. Make sure you are back at the park for the mass band march at lunchtime.

The Heavyweight Competition this year boasts the talents of Nova Scotia's Susie Lajoie, Canadian Women's 2017 Champion. Lajoie is travelling through New Zealand competing in as many Highland Games as possible.

She will be wearing her Nova Scotian tartan kilt because she knows this will resonate with the people of Waipū, many of whom are descended from early settlers who lived in Nova Scotia on their long migration from Scotland to Waipu.

All are welcome to register for tug o war events in teams and in Tartan in the Park where entrants wear their best Scottish inspired outfit.

McLeod's Brewery is one of the main sponsors and they will sell their ales in the Scottish cafe and bar in the Celtic Barn. There is plenty to enjoy so ensure the date is in your diary and follow the Highland Games Facebook page for competition details.

■ Email Julie Paton at moojoy@xtra.co.nz if you've got Bream Bay news to share with Northern Advocate readers.