Former All Black Sir Michael Jones, who owns a bach at Cooper's Beach, has agreed to serve as patron of the Friends of Rangikapiti. Chairman John Haines said Sir Michael's endorsement could only help with funding applications for the restoration of the reserve overlooking Mangonui.

Robbery vehicle located

Officers investigating the aggravated robbery of the Kamo Super Liquor have, thanks to an appeal to the public, located a vehicle wanted in relation to the incident. The store on Three Mile Bush was robbed by four masked people, two of who were armed with fence palings. During the robbery on May 23 a male worker was hit across the face with a fence paling and was taken to hospital for treatment. Police thanked the members of the public who had provided information to officers working on the investigation. Further information can be given to Detective Constable Logan Matheson at the Whangārei Police Station on 09 430 4500 or anonymously via Crime Stoppers 0800 555 111, case reference 190524/4209.

Blood donors wanted

The NZ Blood Service will be back in the Far North this week for another "blood drive". Donors, old hands and debutants alike, will be welcome at Te Ahu today from 8.30am to 2.30pm. The collection will also be at Kerikeri's Turner Centre today from 9am to 3pm. It will also be at Kaikohe War Memorial Hall on Friday from 8.30am to 12pm.

Topdressing pilot okay

Emergency services say the pilot of a topdressing plane involved in a minor plane incident in Wainui Rd at Arapohue near Dargaville was unhurt. Fire, police and St John Ambulance were called to what was described as a ''plane crash'' at 11.38am on Monday. Fire and police spokesmen described the incident as minor. Within an hour only two fire appliances from Dargaville remained at the scene with police personnel. A Civil Aviation Authority spokesman said it had been notified of the incident near Dargaville.


School STEM boost

Pukenui School students will soon be solving real-world problems with robots and iPads, as one of the first schools to receive STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) equipment from the Genesis School-gen Trust. More than 400 schools applied for STEM packages from the Trust, which was set up by Genesis to provide schools with solar, science, technology, engineering and math equipment to help rangatahi (young people) solve real-world problems. Pukenui School principal Carolyn Smith said the announcement came as a surprise. "I thought, small schools like ours never win these things. Well, how wrong was I?" she said. "Rural children should have the same opportunities as any other children. A huge thanks to the selectors for including us as winners. We would never be able to afford equipment like iPads and robotics, and yet our kaupapa is that we need to future-proof our school for the 21st Century and beyond."