A Wellington-based musical initiative that provides free music education and performance opportunities to socio-economically deprived individuals and communities is playing in Northland this week. The Virtuoso Strings Charitable Trust will have performances from its young charges at Kerikeri's Turner Centre, from 7pm tonight, and another at Forum North, Whangārei, at 7pm on Friday. According to the Trust Deed, the purpose is to provide free music education and performance opportunities to socio-economically deprived individuals and communities. The Trust runs a comprehensive, holistic, free music scheme, including a community orchestra, based in Cannons Creek, Porirua.

Ruakākā meet candidates event

Ruakākā Parish Residents and Ratepayers Association will host a Meet the Candidates Evening on Tuesday, September 10 for Whangārei District Mayoral, Bream Bay Ward Councillors and Northland Regional Southern Coastal Ward Councillor candidates. It will be held at the Ruakaka Recreation Centre in the upstairs lounge from 7pm. Whangārei Mayoral, Bream Bay Ward Councillor and Northland Regional Council Coastal South candidates will all be invited to address residents and ratepayers.

Far North contenders to speak

The four Far North mayoral candidates announced so far will be speaking at the Business Paihia AGM in Waitangi later this month. Current Mayor John Carter, Peter Gill, Jay Hepi and current Deputy Mayor Tania McInnes will speak and answer questions during the meeting at the Copthorne Hotel from 5.30pm on July 25. They could be joined by any other candidates who put up their hands before the meeting date. Belinda Ward, Paihia's representative on the Bay of Islands-Whangaroa Community Board, will also speak. If you are putting on a meet the candidates event in Northland email the details to elections@northernadvocate.co.nz.

New ambulance to go on show

The first of St John's new fleet of rural First Response Units for Northland will be officially welcomed at Russell on Saturday. St John recently received a fleet of 14 new First Response Units which have been specially designed for use in rural communities. Four of the vehicles have gone to the Northern Region, including Russell, Dargaville and Maungaturoto/Otamatea. There will be an open day and blessing ceremony for the new unit in Russell on Saturday, from 12pm at St John Russell ambulance station. The public is welcome to attend – it's an opportunity to view the vehicle and sign up as a St John volunteer.