Waitangi will be teeming with waka this weekend
The waters around Waitangi will be teeming with waka this weekend with the number of entries in this year's Bay of Islands Waka Festival more than double last year's tally.
The event was founded in 2017 by the Waitangi Kaihoe Waka Ama Club and Blah Blah Marketing in a bid to boost the sport in the Mid North.
Club president Rob Cameron said the turnout would be "huge". The number of teams overall had more than doubled since last year and three times as many junior paddlers had entered.
"We're getting a huge swag of kids coming through who are keen to compete," he said.
For the first time the festival would start with a traditional carved waka, Taiaamai, leading the waka ama to shore for a karakia and mihi around 9am on Saturday.
The first day's racing would be split into three parts with W6 (six-seater) races for midgets (paddlers aged 7-10) and novice intermediates (aged 11-15) from 9.30am, W1 and W2 races (including a 20km relay) from 11.30am, and 10km W6 races from 2pm.
The big drawcard for the experienced paddlers, however, was the 25km Kris Kjeldsen Memorial Race or Te Taiawhio o Ipipiri.
The race was founded in 1992 by the late Kris Kjeldsen, who had intended it to become a flagship race in New Zealand. It faded out in the late 1990s but was revived as part of the first Bay of Islands Waka Ama Festival in 2017.
Last year's winners in 1h 54m 28s, Herberts on Tour, would be back to defend their title. Kjeldsen's family had donated a two-man waka as a spot prize.
This time the race would keep going no matter what, Cameron said.
"We're looking to develop it into a major race and you only do that if you keep it running, year in, year out. We also feel an obligation to run the race long-term because of who it's named after. Kris was one of the fathers of waka ama in New Zealand."
The course, weather permitting, will take the paddlers around Motuarohia Island to the western point of Moturua and back to Waitangi.
Anika West, of Blah Blah Marketing, said as of Monday 55 teams had entered from as far away as Nelson. She expected that number to hit 65 by the weekend. Manuhiri (guests) would be welcomed at Te Tii Marae on Friday evening.
The Te Tai Tokerau Pacific Canoe Association would be using the Kris Kjeldsen Memorial Race as a training event for teams looking to compete in international long-distance races, she said.
The festival will be based at the bridge end of Tii Beach, Waitangi.
As an official event in this year's Tuia-250 commemorations it will include displays about the history of waka and waka ama in Aotearoa.
BALLET GIVEAWAY: Down the rabbit hole
Melbourne City Ballet is bringing the much-loved Lewis Carroll book Alice in Wonderland to life for one night only in Kerikeri – and we have two double tickets to give away.
The ballet, which is set to the enchanting music of Russian composer Tchaikovsky, tells the story of a girl who falls through a rabbit hole into a magical world. Her adventures include encounters with a White Rabbit, Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, a Cheshire Cat, a tyrannical Queen and the eccentric Mad Hatter, and she still manages to get home in time for tea.
The show features 16 dancers, 40 costumes and specially designed sets which are being taken on a five-month, 60-venue tour of Australia and New Zealand.
Michael Pappalardo is the show's artistic director and Brendan Bradshaw the associate director.
If you want to be in to win all you have to do is send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with your full name, phone number and address by 5pm on Sunday. The winners, who will also be able to get photos with their favourite characters after the show, will be contacted on Monday.
The show starts at 7.30pm on Wednesday, March 27, at the Turner Centre on Cobham Rd. Go to www.turnercentre.co.nz for tickets.
Far North's first green awards
Strong interest in the inaugural Far North Go Green Awards charity dinner, to be held at the Duke of Marlborough Hotel on March 28, has seen the event sell out weeks before the big night.
The organisers, Russell Recyclers, have also had to close off entries to the recycled fashion award earlier than anticipated after capacity was reached.
Awards will be presented for green good idea, outstanding citizen, outstanding company or organisation, and outstanding school. A total of 21 nominees made the finals.
Eleven entrants with 13 garments will contest the 'Trash to Trendy Treasure' fashion award with the entries paraded during dinner.
The judges are all Russell residents. They are Antonio Pasquale (who will choose the winner in the green good idea category), Terry Greening (outstanding citizen), Ross Blackman (outstanding company or organisation), Alastair MacDuff (outstanding school), and Janet Planet and Jayne Shirley (recycled fashion). All category winners will go into the running for the Supreme Far North Go Green Award.
Far North Mayor John Carter and Ailsa Murray will share the MC duties.
New life for old wharf
The remains of a historic wharf at the southern end of Paihia Beach have been saved for future generations in a combined effort by the Far North District Council and Far North Holdings.
The wharf abutment had been badly damaged by storms in recent years and was at risk of collapsing completely.
At the request of Paihia ratepayers, with advice from Heritage New Zealand and council funding, the structure was rebuilt by Far North Holdings with as much as possible of the old stonework preserved.
The abutment has been capped with concrete so ocean surges will now wash over the top without causing further damage.
The historic wharf has been added to Far North Holdings' list of maritime assets to make sure it gets routine maintenance in future.
According to a historical report compiled by the Northland Regional Council, the wharf was built in 1920 to replace an earlier one built in 1918.
The structure cost £428 with the Marine Department contributing £300 and the Bay of Islands County Council the rest.
However, a violent storm in May 1924 badly damaged the wooden part of the wharf, leaving only the stone abutment intact.
After that it was decided Stockyard Pt was not such a suitable location for a wharf after all. Paihia's third wharf was built at the current location in 1926-27.
Jim Morgan turns 95
Well-known Kaikohe resident Jim Morgan has celebrated his 95th birthday with party guests who included a fox terrier which travelled all the way from Auckland.
Morgan's best mate, a jack russell cross named Sandy, had to be put down late last year after it was attacked by a pack of dogs while the pair was out walking on Kaikohe's Harold Ave.
Morgan was devastated but unfortunately that wasn't the end of his troubles. Last month the ex-serviceman was himself attacked by dogs from another Harold Ave property. His shorts were shredded and he received bite wounds to his hip; worse still, he lost confidence to go outdoors and exercise.
Neighbour Cynthia Moran, however, said Morgan's 95th birthday on March 6 was a happy occasion. Seven people squeezed into his modest living room for a party with a cake donated by Len's Pies and gifts of sherry, chocolate and home baking.
As well as local friends the guests included Trish Morrel and Sandra Walker of Auckland's Dog Share Collective, a charity which matches people willing to share their pets with those who for various reasons can't take on a dog full-time. They brought along a fox terrier named Roxy, which hit it off right away with Morgan.
"Roxy the Foxy is Jim's new-found friend. She loved her prime position at the table, and being hand-fed the quiche, ham and even some of his cake. Jim enjoyed it immensely," Moran said.
A 3.6km fun run and walk is being held at Kerikeri Domain tomorrow afternoon as a fundraiser for kidney health. Registration for the World Kidney Day event opens at 5pm with a briefing at 5.20pm and the start at 5.30pm. Entry costs $5 for children and $2 for children; spots prizes will be awarded. Call Nikki on 021 224 6364 for more information.
The winners of last week's draw to see Kiwi band The Feelers play at Zane Grey's in Paihia on Saturday were Kitty Mulder of Parua Bay and Lynette Mellar of Hikurangi. The crowd of more than 500 were treated to a nostalgic journey through 25 years of the band's hits.
■ 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 email@example.com