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

Hokianga Harbour focus of Waitangi hīkoi

A hīkoi at Waitangi today aims to bring national attention to the state of Hokianga Harbour and its ageing wastewater plants.

The hīkoi is organised by Green Party candidate Godfrey Rudolph along with community groups including the Hokianga Environmental Forum — a new group formed in Rawene on January 26 to bring together individuals and organisations with an interest in water quality issues.

Participants are calling on the Far North District Council to upgrade its wastewater treatment systems, starting with the Opononi-Omapere plant which has been breaching its conditions since 2016 and is the first in the area due for a resource consent renewal.

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However, they are also calling on central government to help fund improved sewage treatment, saying the costs can't be carried by ratepayers in small, economically deprived areas on their own.

The forum also wants a detailed ecological study of the current state of the harbour, as was done for the Kaipara some years ago.

The hīkoi will start outside Te Tii Marae at 11am today.

The Far North District Council has conceded work needs to be done to improve sewage disposal in the Hokianga, but disputes claims nothing has been done to address consent breaches at council wastewater plants.

The council also said none of its plants had ever discharged untreated sewage into the harbour.

New EV charging station for Waipapa

Kerikeri Retirement Village, Mitre 10 Kerikeri and ChargeNet have joined forces to open a new electric vehicle (EV) charging station in the car park outside Mitre 10 in the Waipapa shopping centre.

The village has a fleet of four EVs which residents can use in a car-sharing service instead of having to own their own vehicles.

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Kerikeri Retirement Village chief executive Hilary Sumpter (centre) with Mitre 10 Kerikeri owners Debbie and Ben Leduc. Photo / supplied
Kerikeri Retirement Village chief executive Hilary Sumpter (centre) with Mitre 10 Kerikeri owners Debbie and Ben Leduc. Photo / supplied

The new charging station was installed at Waipapa because it is a major commercial hub next to the state highway and because central Kerikeri already has a charger behind the John Butler Centre.

Mitre 10 Kerikeri co-owner Ben Leduc said a good number of EVs were already gliding around the Mid North.

''We're delighted to have been able to play a role in developing further the charging infrastructure for owners," he said.

Kerikeri Retirement Village chief executive Hilary Sumpter said the charger would benefit the Kerikeri community by filling gaps in the charging network.

Funding for the charger came through the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority's low emission vehicles fund, which also helped pay for the village's EV fleet.

Kerikeri girl makes top dance crew

Kerikeri 11-year-old Shaylah Harris has won a place in an Auckland dance school run by the world's best-known hip-hop dancer.

Shaylah Harris, 11, has been accepted into Bubblegum, the junior crew of Goebel's famed Royal Family Dance Company. Photo / supplied
Shaylah Harris, 11, has been accepted into Bubblegum, the junior crew of Goebel's famed Royal Family Dance Company. Photo / supplied

Shaylah, a member of DDF Dance Studio, had six days of intensive workshops at Parris Goebel's Palace Dance Studio in Auckland late last month followed by three days of auditions.

After nine gruelling days she was accepted into Bubblegum, the junior crew of Goebel's famed Royal Family Dance Company.

Shaylah will move to Auckland with her grandmother and sister to pursue her dream. Her mum, Alannah Curtis, who owns DDF Dance Studio, will return to Northland once Shaylah has settled in to keep the business going.

''If you have a dream you can definitely achieve it with hard work and determination, this is proof from the Far North,'' Curtis said.

Shaylah Harris, 11, sports a Royal Family T-shirt after winning a place in one of the world's top hip-hop dance companies. Photo / supplied
Shaylah Harris, 11, sports a Royal Family T-shirt after winning a place in one of the world's top hip-hop dance companies. Photo / supplied

Auckland-born Parris Goebel and the Royal Family have won the World Hip Hop Dance Championships three times. She has choreographed videos for the likes of Justin Bieber, Rihanna, Janet Jackson, Jennifer Lopez and Nicki Minaj.

A video she choreographed for Bieber, Sorry, has had more than two billion views on YouTube, making it one of the most-watched clips of all time.

Upsurge launch party

If you want a sneak preview of who's performing at the 2019 Upsurge Bay of Islands Arts Festival, get along to La Taza Del Diablo on Homestead Rd in Kerikeri from 5.30pm tomorrow for the event's launch party.

The biennial arts festival will be held on April 2-7 at various venues around the Mid North.

New work by Chris Booth

Internationally known sculptor Chris Booth has unveiled a new work at Wharepuke on Kerikeri Rd.

To see the work, called Hawks Crag, park at Māha restaurant and follow the path towards the gallery around the right-hand side of the building. It is installed outside the sculpture park so can be visited for free.

Booth also has work in the Netherlands, UK, Germany, Italy, Denmark, France and Canada, as well Matauri Bay (the Rainbow Warrior monument) and Kerikeri Domain.

Valentine's night show

Kerikeri's Stage Door Theatre Company is holding a Valentine's night dinner and show at the Turner Centre on February 14.

Organisers say the event will include ''a romantic night full of music, song, comedy and drama served alongside a sumptuous four-course dinner''. It features cabaret singer Barbie Davidson plus Stage Door performers.

The show, in the upstairs Theatre Bar, starts at 7pm. Book at the Turner Centre box office.

Thomas family reunion

More than 160 descendants of Charles Francis Thomas and Martha Maria Thomas gathered in Ōkaihau on January 26 to mark the 160th anniversary of their ancestors' arrival at Mangonui.

Colin Thomas of Ōkaihau, the town's former fire chief, and Ian Thomas of Kaitaia. Photo / Cathy Jones
Colin Thomas of Ōkaihau, the town's former fire chief, and Ian Thomas of Kaitaia. Photo / Cathy Jones
Thomas family reunion attendees, from left, Leo Flood (Ōkaihau), Tilly Gentil (Kamo), Dawn Ace and Patti Flower (Kerikeri), Noeline Gladsby (Palmerston North) and Clive Dangen (Papakura).
Thomas family reunion attendees, from left, Leo Flood (Ōkaihau), Tilly Gentil (Kamo), Dawn Ace and Patti Flower (Kerikeri), Noeline Gladsby (Palmerston North) and Clive Dangen (Papakura).
The oldest man and woman at the Thomas family reunion, Clive Dangen (Papakura) and Patti Flower (Kerikeri), cut the cake. Photo / Cathy Jones
The oldest man and woman at the Thomas family reunion, Clive Dangen (Papakura) and Patti Flower (Kerikeri), cut the cake. Photo / Cathy Jones

The family's first reunion was held in the town's community hall, where relatives renewed old acquaintances, got to know new cousins, and watched as the oldest living male and female descendants — Clive Dangen of Papakura and Patti Flower of Kerikeri — cut the cake.

The day's festivities started with a picnic at Snow Harrison's farm and ended with a barbecue and cold beer at Ōkaihau Rugby Club.

Musical weekend coming up

Music lovers, mark your diaries — the weekend of February 16-17 promises something for almost every musical taste.

First up, from noon to 6pm on Saturday funk-soul band The Hipstamatics will play a free concert at Kainui Rd Vineyard along with Chemamari, Merv Pinny, Ventura, Friday Night Special and others.

That evening Leonard Cohen tribute band Imperfect Offering will play at the Turner Centre, while on Sunday the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra will perform works by Rossini, Haydn, Prokofiev and Brahms as part of their Classical Journey summer tour.

See next week's Bay News for more details.


Historic ledger comes home
A relic of Kerikeri's early trading history has come home after disappearing 50 years ago.

Fifteen pages of a ledger book from the Stone Store have been returned after being purchased at auction by the New Zealand Heritage Endowment Fund, a charitable trust set up to acquire artefacts important to New Zealanders.

Any artefacts bought by the fund are donated to Heritage New Zealand.

NZ Heritage Endowment Fund trustee David Nicoll and Kerikeri Mission Station manager Liz Bigwood with the recovered ledger pages, stolen from the Stone Store in the 1960s. Photo / Heritage NZ
NZ Heritage Endowment Fund trustee David Nicoll and Kerikeri Mission Station manager Liz Bigwood with the recovered ledger pages, stolen from the Stone Store in the 1960s. Photo / Heritage NZ

Kerikeri Mission Station manager Liz Bigwood said the ledger pages dated back to 1868 and were believed to have been stolen by an opportunistic thief in the 1960s when the ledger was on display at the Stone Store.

"Over the years, the odd page has been returned to us by people who have presumably felt a bit guilty about having important historical documents in their possession that don't belong to them. Having so many pages returned to us in one go like this has never happened before, however, and is absolutely wonderful."

The October 1868 ledger pages record a range of transactions, including a 112 pound pig which was sold for 18 shillings and sixpence.

"The ledger pages are an important record of the sort of commerce that was taking place on a daily basis at the mission station in the 1860s, and can tell us a lot about what was going on at the time socially and economically," Bigwood said.

Heritage Endowment Fund trustee David Nicoll spotted the pages listed in an auction house catalogue late last year and knew he had to act.

The Auckland-based lawyer found himself in a fierce bidding war by phone with a private purchaser. Nicoll prevailed, however, winning the auction and acquiring the pages on behalf of the fund for just under $3000, five times the estimated price.

"I felt strongly that the ledger pages had to come home. They are back where they should be at last," he said.

Klassic car, rods and bikes on show

The annual Klassic Cars, Hot Rods and Bike Show is returning to Kerikeri Domain this Saturday, February 9. The show kicks off at 9am; all welcome.

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