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

Home-made crafts battle it out

Schools, businesses, community groups and clubs across the Far North will once again do battle on the Whangaroa Harbour in this Saturday's Great Whangaroa Kiwi Can Raft Race.

The annual event sees a wide variety of home-made craft – from the streamlined and skillfully engineered to motley collections of tyre tubes and bamboo barely able to stay afloat as far as the finish line – race from Clansman's Wharf to the Whangaroa Sport Fishing Club.

While prizes are awarded for first three placings in the schools and open divisions, there are also awards for best team spirit and most creative vessel, so it's not just about speed or seaworthiness.

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In past years teams have gone to great lengths to ensure their competitors don't get to the finish line dry.

Rafts from Bay of Islands International Academy emerge from the mist in a previous Whangaroa Kiwi Can Raft Race. Photo / Peter de Graaf
Rafts from Bay of Islands International Academy emerge from the mist in a previous Whangaroa Kiwi Can Raft Race. Photo / Peter de Graaf

The race is organised by the Whangaroa Kiwi Can Charitable Trust, which runs the Graeme Dingle Foundation Kiwi Can programme in the Far North.

Regional manager Tracy Walker said the aim of the event was to bring the community together in a fun outdoor event reinforcing the values taught in Kiwi Can.

This year, programme founders Sir Graeme Dingle and his partner Jo-anne Wilkinson would be taking part, she said.

Racing was due to start at 10am with participating schools confirmed as of yesterday Totara North School, Kaeo School, Oruaiti School, Mangonui School and Hato Hohepa.

The event would also feature a rubber ducky race with prizes for first, second and third duck across the line. Entering the race costs $2 per duck.

Prizegiving will take place around noon outside the Whangaroa Sport Fishing Club.

Sir Graham founded Kiwi Can 20 years ago with the aim of helping young New Zealanders be more confident, find purpose and direction, and achieve success.

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Its life skills and values programmes are taught to 27,000 children at primary and intermediate schools across New Zealand.

Kerikeri community meeting

A new group being set up in Kerikeri aims to learn from the success of Focus Paihia to boost community spirit and make the town a better place to live and work.

A public meeting next Tuesday, March 12, aims to get the wheels turning on the new community group, provisionally called Our Kerikeri.

Its aims will include deciding on a shared vision of Kerikeri's future, creating a master plan for the town's development over the next 10 years, and getting town improvement projects done.

The meeting, at the Turner Centre on Cobham Rd, will start at 7pm with the bar open from 6.30pm. It will be facilitated by the founders of Focus Paihia. All welcome.

Paihia a decade or so ago was a fractious town with poor public facilities – one of its toilets was famously dubbed the worst in New Zealand – and a tired, run-down appearance far from suitable for Northland's busiest tourist town.

The formation of Focus Paihia Charitable Trust brought greater unity and cooperation and a plethora of community-driven town improvement projects, including revamped Marsden Rd public toilets, a waterfront park on a prime site once squandered on car parking, and a mountain bike park at Waitangi.

In many cases Focus Paihia has managed to defy red tape and get things done by simply going ahead and doing them, then asking for permission afterwards.

Go to www.kerikeriourtown.co.nz for more information.

New principal for Bay College

The new principal of Bay of Islands College is the first woman and first ex-student of the Kawakawa school appointed to its top role.

Edith Painting-Davis was welcomed with a pōwhiri which packed out the school hall last month. She replaced John Paitai, who retired at the end of 2018 after 48 years of service to education.

Nine orators spoke at the two-hour pōwhiri to welcome the new principal, new staff member Muritere Apiata and new students for 2019.

Bay of Islands College students perform a powhiri for their new principal Edith Painting-Davis. Photo / Darren Markin
Bay of Islands College students perform a powhiri for their new principal Edith Painting-Davis. Photo / Darren Markin

The speakers included parents, current and past students, community members and kaumatua, each offering a different perspective. All, however, gave support and encouragement as well as challenges to the new principal and her staff.

Painting-Davis is well known in the local community. She was born at Kawakawa Hospital and attended Kawakawa Primary School, Bay of Islands Intermediate School in Moerewa and Bay of Islands College.

She trained as a primary school teacher but most of her 30-year teaching career has been in middle management roles in Māori education.

From 1990-96 she taught in a bilingual unit at Whangarei Intermediate before becoming assistant principal at Te Puawaitanga, a Māori immersion unit at Birkdale Primary School in Auckland.

After her sister, Ruth Hills, encouraged her to apply for a position at Bay of Islands College, she returned to Kawakawa in 2003 and has stayed ever since.

In that time she has taught te reo Māori, maths, science, social sciences, PE, kapa haka and English.

Scene from the powhiri for new Bay of Islands College principal Edith Painting-Davis, at the centre of the photo being congratulated by MP Willow-Jean Prime (in green). Photo / Darren Markin
Scene from the powhiri for new Bay of Islands College principal Edith Painting-Davis, at the centre of the photo being congratulated by MP Willow-Jean Prime (in green). Photo / Darren Markin

Her history of advocating for Māori education includes being the lead facilitator of professional development programmes Te Kotahitanga, Building on Success and Kia Eke Panuku. For the past eight years she has been the regional co-ordinator for Ngā Manu Kōrero, a national oratory competition, and is the treasurer for Te Reo o Te Tai Tokerau, a collective of te reo teachers in Northland.

Painting-Davis and her husband Tawio Davis have four children, Deyne Te Marino, Bodene, Michael and Ngawaiora. Their first mokopuna is due in June this year.

Shakespeare comes to Kerikeri

Don't forget one of William Shakespeare's most popular comedies, A Midsummer Night's Dream, is being performed from tomorrow at Kainui Rd Vineyard near Kerikeri.

First performed in the late 16th century, the play's latest incarnation is staged by the Kerikeri Theatre Company.

The tale features a royal wedding in Athens, four young lovers, a group of peasant actors, and night-time magic playing havoc between mortals and mischievous forest fairies.

One of the funniest scenes is the ''play within a play'' where simple tradesmen present an amateurish sketch to assembled royals and nobles.

The cast of 30, plus an ensemble of musicians, have been rehearsing for several months at the theatre company's new base in Kerikeri's Sammaree Place.

Director Barbara Kirkman said everyone in the mostly young cast could take huge pride in how the play was shaping up.

The play will be performed at 6.30-9pm on March 7, 8 and 9, with a matinee show at 2.30-5pm on March 10. Bring a picnic hamper and comfortable seating for the outdoor show. Kainui's cellar bar will be open; only alcohol purchased on the premises may be consumed there.

Kainui Rd Vineyard is on Kapiro Rd near the junction with State Highway 10. Go to www.iticket.co.nz or Paper Plus in Kerikeri for tickets.

Solar power talk

A talk in Kerikeri this evening called Solar Power: Truth, Lies and Bright Futures aims to address unknowns and answer questions about harnessing the sun's energy.

Steve Sangster, a consultant for Northland solar specialist Hubands Energy with 30 years' experience in the field, will explain how solar power can reduce households' carbon footprints while saving money at the same time.

This seminar is hosted by Vision Kerikeri and is suitable for households, schools and businesses. It will start at 6.30pm tonight in the St John Hall at 357 Kerikeri Rd.

Feelers giveaway #2

If you missed out on last month's Feelers' giveaway, don't despair.

We have another double pass to give away to this Saturday's concert by the classic Kiwi band at Zane Grey's on the Paihia waterfront.

We're giving away two double tickets to see the Feelers in Paihia this weekend. Photo / Ben Fraser
We're giving away two double tickets to see the Feelers in Paihia this weekend. Photo / Ben Fraser

All you have to do is email baynews@northernadvocate.co.nz with your full name, address and contact phone number by 5pm on Thursday, March 7. We'll notify the winners that evening.

Tickets are also available from www.undertheradar.co.nz for $35 or on the door for $40. The show is part of the Feelers' 25th anniversary tour.

Women's Day brekkie

Bay of Islands Women's Nexus is hosting a breakfast this Friday to mark International Women's Day.

The event will run from 6.45-9am at the Cornerstone Church, at the corner of Kerikeri Rd and the Heritage Bypass. The livestream speakers will be Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Steph Dyhrberg, an employment rights lawyer and Wellingtonian of the Year.
Tickets are $25 via eventbrite.co.nz.

Italian piano duo visits

Italian pianists Eleonora Spina and Michele Benignetti will perform their only show in the upper North Island at the Turner Centre Theatre Bar in Kerikeri this Friday.

The concert, which starts at 7.30pm, will feature works by Saint-Saëns, Schubert and Mendelssohn.

The pianists are on their first visit to New Zealand, part of a wider tour which includes Australia, New Zealand, China and South Africa, and have been playing together since 2013.

They record as Spina and Benignetti with the Brilliant Classics and Sheva Collection labels and tour regularly throughout Europe. Their trip downunder is sponsored by Italian Institute of Culture of Sydney and the Italian Embassy of Wellington; the Kerikeri concert is hosted by the Aroha Music Society.

Tickets cost $30 from the Turner Centre box office. Friends of the Aroha Music Society pay $25 while music lovers aged 18 and under get in free. Go to www.spinabenignetti.com for more information about the duo.

Overtures bow out

Bay of Islands musical group The Overtures will perform a last grand concert this Sunday with a show called Our Favorite Things.

The lineup will feature a mix of experienced and upcoming singers such as John Boulter, Bella Mason, Giorgia Davies and Camilla McMillan, accompanied by John Lewis and directed by Carol Maher.

The concert, in the Turner Centre's Theatre Bar, will start at 2pm. Entry $10 at the door.

Jazz and blues

Richard Adams (of the Nairobi Trio) and Nigel Gavin will perform a concert of jazz and blues in the European tradition from 7-9.30pm this Friday at Marsden Estate Winery on Wiroa Rd, near Kerikeri. Meal and show or show only tickets available; phone (09) 407 9398 to book.

Waka talk

Russell resident Ella Weehuizen is giving a talk this weekend about her experiences of paddling the only waka permanently based in Europe, Te Hono ki Aotearoa, while she was studying in the Netherlands for the past two years.

Te Hono, which was built by Northland's Sir Hekenukumai Puhipi, is based at the Dutch national ethnology museum in the city of Leiden and looked after by students of the Njord Royal Student Rowing Club's waka group.

The talk will take place in the Paihia School whare from 5pm on Saturday. Bring a plate.

It will be preceded by a workshop from 11.30am-4.30pm in traditional Māori games, a fundraiser for an upcoming cultural trip to Leiden by youth of the KaiMatariki Trust. The cost is $20; email kaimatariki@gmail.com for more information.

Art show

The latest exhibition at Village Arts in Kohukohu, There and Back, features new work by Hokianga painter Beverley Cox. The show runs until March 30.

Artist residency

Applications have opened for the 2019 Wharepuke Dalton Trust Artist in Residence programme, which offers an artist's fee and four weeks' accommodation in exchange for creating a work for permanent outdoor display at Wharepuke Sculpture Park in Kerikeri.

The residency, which is worth $5500, is open to New Zealand-based and international artists. Applications close on April 19; go to www.artist-residencies.co.nz/funded-artist-residency for more information.

■ 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