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

Free 'Summer Sounds' concert at Kainui Rd

Music lovers are in for a treat this weekend starting with a free concert in the picturesque grounds of Kainui Rd Vineyard on Kapiro Rd, just north of Kerikeri.

Far North Summer Sounds will be headlined by eight-piece Auckland funk/R&B band The Hipstamatics, with support from a raft of quality local groups and solo artists including Chemamari, Merv Pinny, Friday Night Special, Ventura, Jinx and Bella Mason.

Kids' activities will include games based on the Mac's Patch farm animal puppets, face painting and Kerikeri's bubble man. Local vendors will be serving plenty of tasty kai.

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Summer Sounds is hosted by Be Free Inc, a charity promoting freedom from addiction and a drug-free Bay of Islands. The group runs mentoring through a music programme which aims to boost the resilience and confidence of 13-18-year-olds. Many Be Free youth musicians will be performing at the festival alongside the big bands.

Entry is free thanks to a generous private donor, support from local businesses, and lots of help from volunteers. The Be Free crew will be holding a sausage sizzle and collecting koha throughout the afternoon to raise money for their youth music programme.

The concert will run from noon to 6pm; note that space will be limited so aim to arrive early in the afternoon to avoid being turned away if the venue is full. Bring a picnic blanket but don't bring your own food or alcohol. Sealed bottles of water and non-alcoholic drinks will be allowed in.

Go to befreeplaymusic.wordpress.com for more information.
Leonard Cohen tribute concert
The legendary Canadian singer-songwriter might be dead but his spirit lives on in Auckland tribute band Imperfect Offering, who will be bringing a feast of Leonard Cohen classics to the Turner Centre this Saturday.

The band will include five vocalists, a violin and even a balalaika, taking the audience on a journey from Cohen's first album in 1967 to his last in 2016.

Leonard Cohen tribute band Imperfect Offering is performing in Kerikeri this Saturday. Photo / supplied
Leonard Cohen tribute band Imperfect Offering is performing in Kerikeri this Saturday. Photo / supplied

The band is currently on a North Island tour with one show only in Kerikeri. The concert starts at 7.30pm; go to www.turnercentre.co.nz for tickets or more information.

Imperfect Offering was formed by lead singer Peter McMillan in 2014 with a mix of rock, jazz and classical musicians. It was only supposed to be a one-off gig but it was so well received the band became permanent and grew into a nine-piece line-up.

The name comes from the lyrics to Cohen's 1992 song Anthem: "Ring the bells that still can ring, forget your perfect offering, there is a crack in everything – that's how the light gets in."

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The band will also play Whangārei's Capitaine Bougainville Theatre on April 14.

Win tickets to the Feelers
Bay News has two free tickets to give away to see Kiwi band The Feelers, who will be playing Zane Grey's on the Paihia waterfront on March 9 as part of the band's 25th anniversary tour.

We're giving away free tickets to see The Feelers on March 9, when they play Zane Grey's in Paihia as part of their 25th anniversary tour. Photo / Steve Dykes
We're giving away free tickets to see The Feelers on March 9, when they play Zane Grey's in Paihia as part of their 25th anniversary tour. Photo / Steve Dykes

All you have to do is email baynews@northernadvocate.co.nz with your full name, address and contact phone number – if you win it'll be a Beautiful Feeling, possibly As Good As It Gets.

If you don't manage to win tickets they're also available from undertheradar.co.nz for $35 or on the door for $40.

NZSO's epic auditory tour

The New Zealand Symphony Orchestra is promising "an epic auditory grand tour of Europe" when it brings its Classical Journey tour to Kerikeri this Sunday.

NZSO associate conductor Hamish McKeich will take Kerikeri on an
NZSO associate conductor Hamish McKeich will take Kerikeri on an "epic auditory tour of Europe" this Sunday. Photo / Stephen A'Court

Under the guidance of NZSO associate conductor Hamish McKeich, the orchestra will open with Rossini's overture to his opera The Italian Girl in Algiers. From there, the audience will journey from London (Haydn's London Symphony) to the Russian countryside (Prokofiev's Classical Symphony) before finishing in Bavaria (Brahms' Variations on a Theme by Haydn).

Every piece was written during, or inspired by, the late 18th century, McKeich said.

"This is bright and cheerful music for summer which will appeal to both regular concert-goers and those hungry to experience the NZSO for the first time. They won't go away disappointed."

The concert starts at the Turner Centre in Kerikeri at 6.30pm on February 17. Go to www.turnercentre.co.nz for tickets or more information.

Flutes and saxes
This Friday's lunchtime concert at the Turner Centre features TrioNique, with Kerikeri's Clare Penny on flute and Tomomi Johnston of Auckland on saxophone.

They will be supported by Maddy Kathro on flute and Leah Green on piano as they perform a range of works by Telemann, Haydn, Bozza, Debussy and others.

The Theatre Bar will open at noon; suggested donation of $5 at the door.

Russell identity turns 100
Well-known Russell identity Lyndsay Nichols has celebrated her 100th birthday with a party attended by dozens of friends and family.

Lyndsay, who now lives at Radius Baycare in Haruru Falls, was born on February 4, 1919, in Winchester, England.

Russell identity Lyndsay Nichols celebrates her 100th birthday with Far North Mayor John Carter and Northland MP Matt King. Photo / supplied
Russell identity Lyndsay Nichols celebrates her 100th birthday with Far North Mayor John Carter and Northland MP Matt King. Photo / supplied

She grew up in Hampstead where she attended King Alfred School, which was radical in those days for teaching boys and girls as well as encouraging participation in sport and the arts alongside academic subjects.

She talked her father into letting her learn shorthand, a skill which led to work during World War II as a stenographer for the Ministry of Food, stationed at Colwyn Bay in Wales. She emigrated to New Zealand in 1949 and brought up four daughters in Auckland before moving to Russell in 1971.

Dance, and movement of the body, were Lyndsay's life-long passions.

She trained in classical ballet at Sadler's Wells in London as a young woman and continued to attend ballet classes at Nettleton Edwards in Auckland until she moved to Russell. She still has her ballet shoes hanging above her bed.

Later she taught yoga in Russell's church hall; she also practised tai chi and, having given up her car when she moved to Russell, was known for walking everywhere.

These days she uses a wheelchair but keeps good health for her age. On her 90th birthday she was still able to do the splits.

The Brind Rd house she lived in for 45 years, Woodbury, was built by another Russell identity, the late Jack Maioha, and sold to his grandson when she moved to Baycare.

Many Russell residents made sure she could live independently as long as possible, among them neighbour Jo Mays, Tracey Rewiri and her long-term carer Lesley Jones.

As well as residents and staff more than 30 people came to her February 4 party, including family members from as far away as Australia, friends from Russell, Mayor John Carter and Northland MP Matt King.

Resthome manager Pam Hughes said Lyndsay's former students performed a dance and included her in it.

''It was real tear-jerking stuff,'' she said.


Swedish ambassador visits Russell
Sweden's ambassador to New Zealand has paid a visit to Russell Museum ahead of an exhibition dedicated to a Swedish botanist who helped shape the study of this country's natural history.

The exhibition will be called Paradise Lost: Daniel Solander's Legacy and will be one of the most prestigious the museum has hosted.

Russell Museum curator Kate Martin and Swedish Ambassador Pär Ahlberger off Moturua Island's Mangahawea Bay. Photo / supplied
Russell Museum curator Kate Martin and Swedish Ambassador Pär Ahlberger off Moturua Island's Mangahawea Bay. Photo / supplied

Opening on April 6 and sponsored by the Swedish Embassy, it will pay tribute to Swedish botanist Daniel Solander (1733-1782), one of the scientists on board Captain Cook's Endeavour when it arrived in the Bay of Islands 250 years ago.

Ten artists were invited to flesh out Solander's character, attributes and talents, such as his scientific credentials, his cross-cultural awareness and his enthusiasm for the preservation of the natural world. The artists include Michael Tuffery, Jenna Packer, John Pusateri and Alexis Neal.

Ambassador Pär Ahlberger visited the museum last week while in Northland for Waitangi Day festivities.

While there he was taken with an artwork in the current show Tuia Toi Whakaata by the Maori Printmakers Collective.

Made by Vanessa Wairata Edwards, it comprises a series of prints of New Zealand flora and fauna with pest species superimposed on top. It is also called Paradise Lost and acknowledges Solander by using a Solander Box as a container for the prints.

While Edwards' Solander Box refers to the destruction of native species by introduced predators, the original box was invented by Solander to preserve the plants he collected in Aotearoa in 1769. Such boxes are still used by scientists and museums today.

The reference to Milton's famous epic poem, Paradise Lost, is because Solander tore pages from a proof copy of the book to press the leaves and flowers he found.

The ambassador was so impressed by the artwork he asked if it could be included in the Daniel Solander Legacy exhibition opening at the Solander Gallery in Wellington on Saturday. The show will then travel to Russell before going on tour around New Zealand then heading to Australia and Sweden.

While in Russell Ambassador Ahlberger was taken on a tour of the Bay by ex-pat Swedes Katarina and Stefan Jung and their son Vidar. They moved from Stockholm two years ago and now run a fishing tackle shop and charter boat business.

Museum curator Kate Martin was also on board to show the ambassador the places Solander had visited 250 years ago.


Octopus mural for Kaikohe
Kaikohe's latest mural is a giant octopus, part of an underwater scene adorning a large shed at the community pool behind Northland College.

Kaikohe's latest mural was painted by youngsters of Te Uma o Te Kona youth centre. Photo / Rawiri Love
Kaikohe's latest mural was painted by youngsters of Te Uma o Te Kona youth centre. Photo / Rawiri Love

The colourful mural was painted by artist Dallon August and youngsters from Te Uma o Te Kona, Kaikohe's youth drop-in centre, with local businesses covering the cost of materials such as paint.

The mural, which is part of local identity Rawiri Love's Smiley campaign to brighten up the town, was blessed on February 9 in front of a large crowd of kids and dignitaries.

The octopus is an important symbol for the Mid North town which is sometimes referred to as Te Pu o Te Wheke (The heart of the Octopus), because it is at the centre of the many arms of Ngāpuhi.

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