The "seal silly season" is in full swing and the Department of Conservation is urging caution around the marine mammals as they come ashore to rest. Yesterday a healthy seal spent several hours relaxing on the banks of the Hatea River, beside the Whangārei Aquatic Centre, providing a talking point for many in the area. From May to August it's common for young seals to come ashore. But DoC warns that while seals are cute, they can also bite, and urged people to stay around 20 metres away from any seal they see. When the pups – and sometimes even older seals such as sub-adults – are exploring, they can follow rivers and streams and end up many kilometres inland. Generally speaking, if they got themselves in there, they are capable of getting back. In some places they have been found as far as 15km inland. If you come across a seal that you think is in danger, the best thing to do is give a call to 0800 DOC HOT.

Comics convention coming

The first Plunge! Studios indie comics convention is coming to Whangārei on July 13. Taking place across one day at OneOneSix, on Bank St, the Plunge! Indie Comic Convention is aimed at promoting pop culture in Whangārei. Organiser Aru Singh has been involved with comic books and pop culture for most of his life, including running a Whangārei comic book store from 2014 to 2017. After the store closed, Singh remained involved in comics and pop culture in Northland, including the Itchy Trigger Finger gaming and cosplay expo, in Whangārei last year.

New trustees formally welcomed

Foundation North has welcomed four new trustees. Chairman of Foundation North, John Slater, gave a warm welcome in te reo Māori to those coming on board: Maxine Shortland, David Whyte, Naisi Chen and Vanushi Walters. The Foundation's trustees are appointed by Associate Minister of Finance David Clark, and joined the organisation's governing board on June 1. Foundation North makes millions of dollars in grants each year to not-for-profit groups in Auckland and Northland.

Rat trap milestone reached

A Paihia conservation group plans to celebrate catching its 10,000th rat with a volunteer day carrying stoat traps to one of its ''mega-traplines'' in the hills behind Paihia. Bay Bush Action clocked up the 10,000 rat milestone last week, eight years after starting its pest trapping operation. Anyone who wants to help on the volunteer day can email The group has also caught more than 3100 possums, 154 stoats and 141 feral cats. Given the current rat plague trustee Brad Windust said it was vital that trapping continued, but it was no match for the size and efficiency of control methods such as 1080 for large forests. His group's eight-year effort to reach the 10,000 rat milestone could be achieved in a few hours using 1080, he said.